Take action: Tell senators to forgive debts and lift sanctions

Invitation to Action

COVID-19 is a global pandemic. It is ravaging us all, but especially highly indebted countries and countries where the US has imposed sanctions. The United States must provide an international response to curb this global health crisis.

As United Methodists, we acknowledge that sanctions “can play a critical role in the mitigation and deterioration of conflicts. It is in this sense that sanctions are sometimes seen as a more tolerable alternative to war, but in no case should they impede the ability of people to have adequate access to food, water, and medicine.” (Book of Resolutions: 6043 Guidelines for the Imposition of Sanctions) Currently, the role of sanctions, especially during this pandemic has prevented individuals and communities from receiving the necessary aid to prevent and combat COVID-19. Furthermore, this pandemic has induced a global economic crisis that will have a long lasting impact on developing countries. For this reason, United Methodists believe that “debt cancellation and relief should be fashioned in a way that benefits the poor and help move debtor nations to sustainable human development… the poor should not bear the burden of repayment and structural adjustment. Living standards of those least responsible and most vulnerable should not be sacrificed in order to meet external obligations.” (Book of Resolutions 4053: Global Debt Crisis: A Call for Jubilee)

The US Senate is considering additional relief legislation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Contact your Senators today and tell them that the United States bears a moral duty and obligation to provide COVID-19 international assistance. The emergency supplemental bill must:

  • Lift US sanctions that impede the delivery of desperately humanitarian and medical supplies. Some of the countries which the US has imposed sanctions are Cuba, Iran, Gaza (a region of Palestine), and North Korea. The United Methodist Church in our “Guidelines for the Imposition of Sanctions“ resolution provides humanitarian exemptions such as medical supplies and equipment.
  • Provide $12 billion in international assistance and debt cancellation to struggling countries, especially in Africa and Latin America, in order to boost their COVID-19 capabilities. Funding for the World Health Organization is critically important to African countries. Debt cancellation should authorize the US Treasury to support the release of an international resource called Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). SDRS are not loans to governments and have no cost to American taxpayers. The Social Principles of The United Methodist Church calls for the support of the poor and alleviation of poverty. Our “Global Debt Crisis: A Call for Jubilee” calls for United Methodists to be advocates of debt relief for the world’s poor countries.