Baltimore, MD (PRWEB) July 06, 2011
Morally appropriate efforts must be made to reduce the nation's deficit and debt but special care must be taken that the cuts don’t disproportionally affect the world’s poorest people, said Bishop Howard J. Hubbard of Albany, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on International Justice and Peace, and Ken Hackett, president of Catholic Relief Services, in a July 5 letter to the Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs as it prepares to mark up the Foreign Operations Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2012.
In the letter, Bishop Hubbard and Mr. Hackett note that the enacted FY 2011 Foreign Affairs budget already cut these life-saving programs by an average of 8.4% from FY 2010 and affirm that “further cuts would be disproportionate and life-threatening to the world’s poorest people.”
At stake are a wide range of life-saving and dignity preserving activities such as agricultural assistance to poor farmers; medicines for people living with HIV/AIDS and vaccines for preventable diseases; assistance to orphans and vulnerable children; humanitarian assistance in cases of famine; emergency health care, shelter, and reconstruction in disaster-devastated places like Haiti; peacekeepers to protect innocent civilians in troubled nations such as Sudan and the Congo; and life-sustaining support to migrants and refugees fleeing conflict or persecution in nations like Iraq.
“In supporting these life-saving services, we seek to promote integral human development, reduce poverty, and improve stability in the world’s poorest countries and communities in morally appropriate ways,” the letter says. “Doing so contributes to our long-term security, since poverty and hopelessness can provide a fertile ground for the growth of terrorism.”
“The Subcommittee must cut with great care, eliminating only those expenses unrelated to basic human needs and development,” the letter says, pointing out that middle or high income countries are better able to cope with the consequences of reduced funding.
In the letter USCCB and CRS also affirm strong support for restoring the Mexico City Policy against funding groups that perform or promote abortion, and denying funding to the U.N. Population Fund which supports a program of coerced abortion and involuntary sterilization in China.
“The USCCB, CRS, and many others in the faith community committed to a Circle of Protection (http://www.circleofprotection.us) stand ready to work with leaders of both parties for a budget that reduces future deficits, protects poor and vulnerable people at home and abroad, advances the common good, and promotes human life and dignity,” Bishop Hubbard and Hackett say in the letter.
Full text of the letter attached.