Series of talks to promote trade justice

Chiswick Churches Together aim to help drive for change


Wednesday, 10 November – at Our Lady of Grace Parish Centre, 2 Dukes Avenue: Overview of trade injustice and governmental action to redress the balance - Speakers: Right Hon Hilary Benn MP Secretary of State for International Development, Ann Keen MP and Matt Griffith (CAFOD – focussing on the Common Agricultural Policy)

All evenings to commence at 8pm, with an opportunity for general questions and discussion after the talks. Each evening to end by about 9.30pm.

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In October and November, Chiswick will be the venue for a series of talks on Trade Justice in October and November, that was launched by the Bishop of Kensington and will end with talks by the Secretary of State for International Development, Hilary Benn MP and Ann Keen, MP for Brentford and Isleworth.

Every day, people in the poorest countries lose out to the tune of £1.3 billion because of unfair trade rules. The current arrangement of ‘free trade’, hand in hand with patching up aid exercises, does not go to the root of the scandal of poverty and death in the developing world. Trade justice gives dignity and self-respect to third world producers, and eliminates the need for ‘rescue appeals’ and handouts of ‘crumbs from the rich man’s table’.

On 26 September, more than 50 UK organisations, including Christian Aid, Oxfam, Friends of the Earth and CAFOD launched a massive exercise outside the Labour Party Conference in Brighton to explain that message and put it high on the national and international agenda; a new round of talks in the WTO has just been announced and the UK is due to host the G8 meeting of world leaders in 2005.

Members of a core 6 Chiswick congregations – Christ Church, Our Lady of Grace, St Michael and All Angels, St Nicholas, the Methodist Church and St Joseph’s - have united under the name of Chiswick Churches Together to put on a series of four public open meetings. Personal endorsements have come from singers Bono and Chris Martin, the actress Sheila Hancock and the TV reporter Fergal Keane.

The initiative of the 6 churches is intended to result in a long-term local commitment to fair trade principles. The talks are a first step and will explain:
• the present unfair trading rules around the world and their origin,
• the action available to local groups and individuals that will make a difference, and
• the action that is being taken on a governmental level.

Speakers will be drawn from Christian Aid, CAFOD, The Fairtrade Foundation and Traidcraft.

The meetings will be held at 8pm on successive Wednesdays 20 and 27 October and 3 and 10 November at different venues in Chiswick.

The first three meetings will be open to the public, but, due to limitation of space, in order to attend the meeting at which Hilary Benn and Ann Keen will speak, it will be necessary for anyone wishing to attend either to phone 020 8994 7461 or 020 8994 6368 as soon as possible, giving details of their name and address, or else to contact one of the participating parishes.

November 4, 2004