Activism

May 21, 2013

May The G8 must take action on tax dodging and tax havens!

21
2013

Shocking new statistics released by Oxfam this week have shown that governments are letting people hide at least $18.5 trillion in offshore tax havens. Yes, you read that right: not $18.5 million, or even $18.5 billion, but $18.5 trillion!

And our research shows that as much as €707 billion owned by wealthy individuals from overseas may be shielded from tax authorities around the world in Irish financial institutions, leaving Ireland open to suggestions that it’s being used as a tax haven.

“It’s time to take the side of ordinary people, rather than the privileged few. These figures put Ireland at the centre of a global tax system that is a colossal betrayal of people here and abroad” says Jim Clarken, Chief Executive of Oxfam Ireland. “Now is the time to take action.”

By holding their money in offshore tax havens like San Marino and Monaco, the owners of these $18.5 trillion worth of riches pay little or no tax - while hard working people in the world's poorest countries strive to make a living and 1 in 8 go to bed hungry.

 

If companies and individuals paid their dues, it would total more than $150 billion - money which could be spent on schools, hospitals and libraries. As austerity bites and budgets are slashed, ordinary people across the world are losing out on billions of unpaid tax.

And these figures are just the tip of the iceberg: tax evasion by big corporations prevents hundreds of billions of dollars being paid every year. The vast majority of ordinary people pay their taxes every year, so why should the world’s richest individuals and corporations get away with dodging tax?

Now is the time to take a stand. This year's G8 takes place in June in Northern Ireland, and David Cameron has committed his G8 Presidency towards ‘getting our own house in order and helping developing countries to prosper”, while yesterday European leaders met to discuss tax.

But unless European and G8 countries follow their fine words with action, this could be a lot of hot air – or result in a deal that shuts out developing countries.

Oxfam is calling for G8 leaders to;

  1. Get their own tax havens to join a global deal to share tax information, so that all countries – especially the poorest – can tax companies and individuals fairly.
  2. Commit to making ownership of companies and other assets public, so that nobody can avoid paying tax by hiding their money or setting up phantom firms.
  3. Agree to get tough with tax havens when they won’t play ball.

Please share this blog post on social media to spread the word and ensure that political leaders play their part at this year's G8 Summit in Co. Fermanagh on June 17th and 18th.

Tell them that you won’t stand for the unjust tax dodging practices of the global elite.

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May 15, 2013

May Let’s make some noise on hunger at Big IF Belfast event when G8 comes to town!

15
2013

Oxfam has always been about campaigning for change, because we tackle the root causes of poverty to really change things for the world’s poorest people.

Often, we have to live with the fact that change can take a long time! But then, once in a generation, once in a lifetime, circumstances come together to create a moment where all our campaigning can have a really big impact. That moment is now.

World leaders have been preparing and planning for the G8 summit which will be held in Fermanagh in just five weeks’ time and we know that they are already talking about what they can do to tackle the causes of hunger. 

Top: Oxfam Ireland Campaigns and Advocacy Officer Christine McCartney (left), Jim Wells MLA (centre) and (right) Oxfam Ireland Chief Executive Jim Clarken at the recent Enough Food for Everyone IF campaign’s ‘Road to the G8’ event in Parliament Buildings in Stormont. Northern Irish politicians were briefed on the IF campaign which is pressing for world leaders to act on hunger at next month’s G8 summit in Fermanagh. Photo: Neil Harrison / Oxfam. Middle: Rita Ora, One Direction, Orlando Boom and Erin O'Connor are showing their support by wearing the Enough Food for Everyone IF campaign wristband. You pick one up in any Oxfam shop across the island of Ireland. Bottom: Pictured at the launch of the 'Big IF Belfast' event at Botanic Gardens today (14 May) are members of the Ulster Orchestra members Steve Irvine (tuba), Neil Gallie (trombone) and Richard Guthrie (viola) join the chorus calling for action on hunger at the launch of the Big IF Belfast event which will take place on Saturday June 15th. Photo: Neil Harrison / Oxfam.

We need to make sure they hear loud and clear that we, their citizens, want and expect them to do more than talk – we need them to act. 

Plans are being unveiled today for a very special event to get that message across. The BIG IF Belfast on Saturday 15 June will include a fantastic two-hour stage show, with top music and famous names calling for action on hunger, plus the BIG IF art installation, interactive activities and the chance to send your message to G8 leaders. It’s organised by Oxfam Ireland and our partners in the Enough Food For Everyone IF campaign. 

This is the moment. We can get the attention of world leaders and get them to act on hunger – IF we come together on the eve of the G8 and make some noise.  

So let’s grasp this chance to make sure hunger is on the table when leaders meet in Fermanagh next month.

Apr 23, 2013

Apr World’s biggest chocolate companies melt under consumer pressure

23
2013

More sweet news today for chocolate lovers: the biggest chocolate maker in the world, Mondelez International, has agreed to take steps to address inequality facing women in their cocoa supply chains — thanks to pressure from consumers like you.

More than 100,000 people around the world joined our Behind the Brands campaign, signing petitions and taking action to urge Mondelez (which owns Cadbury’s) and its competitors to tackle the hunger, poverty and unequal pay facing many women cocoa farmers and workers. You also made your voices heard by sending messages to the companies on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Today’s announcement by Mondelez follows commitments last month by Mars and Nestlé to address these issues. Together, Mars, Mondelez and Nestlé buy more than 30 per cent of the world’s cocoa — so changes in their policies could have huge effects for cocoa farmers and their families. 

Although they don’t employ or control them directly, they rely on farmers like Etchi Avla (43) in the Ivory Coast, the world’s top cocoa producer. She wants to be paid a fair price. “We do our best to do it well, but the price of cocoa is really low. And that makes it hard for us to take good care of our children and it is tiring.” 

 

Clockwise from top:  Etchi Avla on her cocoa farm in Botende, Ivory Coast. “As a woman I know that there are other women in other countries who would like to support us. As a woman when you see another woman is suffering you want to help.”  Portrait of Etchi Avla. The pulp is separated from cocoa. Photos: Peter DiCampo/Oxfam.
 
“Empowering women cocoa farmers has the potential to improve the lives of millions of people, some of whom are earning less than $2 a day,” said Oxfam Ireland’s Chief Executive Jim Clarken. “We hope that the steps taken by Mars, Mondelez and Nestle offer an example to the rest of the food and beverage industry that consumers are paying attention to how companies impact the communities they work in.”
 
Mars, Mondelez and Nestlé are now taking the first steps to commit to the empowerment of women and to find out how women are being treated in their supply chains. They have committed to work towards signing on to the UN Global Compact’s Women’s Empowerment Principles. And they have agreed to publish the data from first-stage impact assessments in one year’s time and to publish concrete action plans to address the issues. 
 
We’re looking forward to working with Mondelez, Mars and Nestle to ensure they stick to their promises to women. So we can all watch and make sure they stay on track, we have produced a Road Map to highlight all the promises they have made and the dates they have committed to.  
 
You can also stay informed through Oxfam’s Behind the Brands scorecard to see how the giant companies that make your favourite brands (chocolate and otherwise) measure up.
 
Mar 6, 2013

Mar Voice of female farmers loud and clear this International Women’s Day

6
2013

TV talent show The Voice is attracting a huge audience here at home but none quite so big as our Female Food Heroes competition, as Voice judge and Oxfam ambassador Sharon Corr discovered on her recent trip to Tanzania. 

Using reality TV, radio, newspapers and text voting, the initiative has reached 25 million people – more than half of Tanzania’s population – and plays a vital role in strengthening the status of female farmers.

The 2012 competition – which Sharon Corr helped to launch – partnered with popular show Maisha Plus and saw 14 finalists selected from thousands of entries.

Clockwise from top:  Previous winner Ester Jerome Mtegule and Oxfam Ireland’s Mwanahamis Salimu present our ambassador Sharon Corr with a traditional African headscarf at the launch of last year’s Female Food Heroes competition in Tanzania. Barry McCall/Oxfam. The Female Food Hero 2012 competition tours a village in the Lushoto Mountains region in northeastern Tanzania. Thousands of female farmers entered. Oxfam/MaishaPlus. 2012 winner Sister Martha Waziri transformed unwanted wasteland into a successful farm that feeds her local community, including 12 orphaned children. Oxfam/MaishaPlus.

Selected by public vote for the ways they’ve helped their communities, the finalists moved into a reality TV village and shared  their skills with young people from urban areas on the show, which also helps to highlight the struggle women can face surrounding the ownership of land.

With International Women’s Day taking place this week and lots of our amazing supporters getting ready to host Get Together events to celebrate, we’d like to introduce  the eventual winner, Sister Martha Waziri (45) from Dodoma.

As a 17-year-old she found some barren unused land that none of the local men wanted. But when she asked the local authorities if she could use it, they laughed at her. “I became an object of ridicule,” she recalls. 

Eventually, she fought and got her way. She has since turned 18 acres of unwanted wasteland into a thriving farm, growing sugarcane, sweet potatoes, bananas and more. 

In doing so she has become a beacon of change for other local women, many of whom have now followed her example. The profits from her farm have allowed Sister Martha to support 12 local orphaned children, providing them with food and shelter. 

Thanks to your support, we can help incredible women like Sister Waziri to overcome the challenges they face and continue to feed their families and their communities.

Clockwise from top left: As 2011 finalist Mwandiwe Makame won a solar panel which she shares with other women in her community; 2011 winner Ester Jerome Mtegule shows others how to replicate her innovative farming techniques and (top left) 2011 finalist Anna Oloshiro is a fellow trailblazer for women’s rights: “I believe that providing women with access to information will empower them more, make them aware of their rights and, in the process, they will change or improve their lives.” All photos by Barry McCall/Oxfam

Last year’s winner was Esther Jerome Mtegule from Iyenge in central Tanzania. She was one of the inspirational women who our Ending Poverty Starts with Women campaign ambassador Sharon Corr met in Tanzania.

Ester had managed to increase the yield of one of her crops from five to 75 bags a year by growing a drought-resistant variety instead of using the traditional one favoured by most farmers. This helped feed her whole village.

Her achievement received mass-media coverage and led to her travelling internationally to talk about the vital role of small-scale women farmers.

"I will do everything to support women food producers. They bring peace and harmony in their families and a nation at large," Ester explains. "And they bring freedom. I assure you that a food insecure family is not a free family."

Your support is helping women to empower themselves and become decision-makers in their communities. Thank you.

Feb 12, 2013

Feb What’s IF all about?

12
2013

The world produces enough food to feed everyone – but not everyone has enough to eat.

That has inspired Oxfam and 100 other organisations to mount a huge joint campaign on hunger. 

Enough Food for Everyone IF is about ending the greatest scandal of our age – that one in eight people go to bed hungry every night in a world which produces enough food for everyone. 
 
 
CAPTIONS: Top: IF comes together at the Belfast launch. Middle-left: Enough Food For Everyone IF we use land for food not fuel. Women pictured here in a garden program at the Integrated health Centre in Aguie in the Tessaoua region of Niger. Photo: Nyani Quarmyne. Middle-right: Six-month-old Maniratou Mahamadou, held by her mother, Habsatou Salou, smiles after a nutrition screening at the Boukoki Integrated Health Centre in Niamey, the capital. Enough for everyone IF we give enough aid to stop children dying of hunger. Photo: Nyani Quarmyne. Bottom row: IF teaser's spelt out using food, piano keys and inflated at Derry Peace Bridge.
More than 140 people spelt it out in Belfast in January to unveil the IF campaign and be the first to sign up. You may have missed the wet shoes and standing around in the snow – but you can sign up too right here and find out the latest on the campaign here.
 
Hunger kills more people than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. Two million children die each year because of malnutrition. Food prices continue to rise making it even harder for families, including here at home, to put food on the table. The food system is broken.
But there can be enough food for everyone:
 
IF we give enough aid to stop children dying from hunger and help the poorest families have enough food to live.
 
IF we stop poor farmers being forced off their land, and we grow crops to feed people not fuel cars.
 
IF governments stop big companies dodging tax in poor countries, so that millions of people can free themselves from hunger.
 
IF we force governments and investors are open and honest about the actions that prevent people getting enough food.
 
We need you to join us to end the scandal of hunger. Leaders – coming to Fermanagh for the G8 in June - will listen IF we act together and act now.
 

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