"Corruption is not just greed, the abuse of public influence, bribery, or secret and dishonest deals and money lost through tax evasion. Corruption kills!" Graham Power, the founder of the Global Day of Prayer and Unashamedly Ethical, reminded a gathering in Cape Town on Monday March 11 2013 that “We will never rid the world of systemic poverty until we rid it of systemic corruption.”
“Over US$1 TRILLION goes missing every year from the global economy as a result of corruption (1) and it’s predicted that illegal tax evasion alone will be responsible for 5.6 million children dying in developing countries between 2000 and 2015 (2). That’s 1,000 children every day. We think it is time for us to take action,” said Rev Joel Edwards, International Coordinator of EXPOSED, the global Christian campaign aimed at exposing corruption, one of the major causes of poverty.
Speaking at the event in Cape Town, South Africa, to mark the beginning of public action as part of the EXPOSED 2013 campaign, Joel Edwards and Mr Power were among leading international figures from the world of church, business and government who challenged millions of Christians worldwide to make a stand against practices which ultimately keep the poor in dire poverty.
The event, attended by 150 members of the press, church, business and government also saw the launch of some vital resources and tools to help people across the globe take a stand against corruption. This includes online resources to help churches and businesses to sign the EXPOSED campaign’s Global Call for Integrity, and toolkits to help people challenge corruption wherever they find it – in their communities, in their business and financial dealings and in the government.
“We want a million people to sign our Global Call for Integrity, a call for financial transparency and honesty, which will be presented to leaders of the most powerful economies across the world. But that’s just the start of it,” said Rev Dr Dion Forster, Chairman of EXPOSED. He went on to say: “Each one of us must realize that we have a critical part to play in tackling corruption in our own lives and communities.”
South African businesswoman Michelle Harding spoke to the Cape Town audience, saying: “My stand against corruption was worthwhile because I was being obedient to God. I believe that leaders have to accept responsibility for change.” She spoke of how, as the Managing Director of a plastic pipe company in South Africa which was part of a crooked cartel that had been fixing prices and rigging bids for decades, she woke up to corruption and has since helped to clean up her industry.
Dr. Michael Cassidy, founder of African Enterprise and honorary lifetime President of Lausanne, added; “If a country decays, it is the failure of the Church to be salt. If is the country is dark, it is the failure of the Church to be light. EXPOSED allows Christians to shine a light on corruption.”
The Cape Town meeting heard from Joyce Thong from Malaysia how, over the first six months of the campaign since the official launch of EXPOSED in October 2012, advocates across the world have been creating interest in the campaign and have started to challenge business, church and individuals on the issue of corruption. Ms. Thong challenged Church members to commit themselves and to take responsibility in their nations by making a personal commitment, and then extending that commitment into their community.
Activity now steps up, with people being encouraged to sign the Global Call for Integrity and get involved in the culmination of the campaign - a week of action and prayer including 2000 Vigils across the world from 14-20 October 2013 when it is expected many hundreds of thousands of Christian will gather for special church services, public gatherings and initiatives and activities designed to ‘shine a light on corruption.’
The Global Call for Integrity is an appeal from Christians around the world, who represent ordinary citizens, to encourage and challenge the leaders of the most economically powerful nations in the world (the G20) to press for more open tax regimes and greater transparency in payments to combat bribery and tax avoidance, urging them to ensure that financial dealings in business and government are open and honest. The 1 million signatures will be handed to the G20 leaders before their meeting in 2014.
Amanda Jackson, from the EXPOSED team in London said, “The resources launched at the Cape Town event aim to highlight the issue of corruption in the next six months and help individuals, churches and organizations across the globe break the barriers of corruption in their own communities and sign the Call for Integrity.”
The Global Call Action Tool allows people to sign the Call for Integrity petition online and also gives access to online resources and widgets which may be embedded in other websites as the message spreads. The Toolkits for Church and Business provide clear, succinct and helpful information to mobilize individuals and Christian communities to take a strong, concrete and constructive stand against corruption.
EXPOSED aims to engage 100 million people across the globe – including Christians and people of other faiths or no faith - to consider practical and positive ways to resist corruption:
The speakers at the Cape Town EXPOSED event were leading figures from the global church and business community who have direct experience of tackling or exposing corruption:
EXPOSED is a coalition of Christian Organisations that aims to challenge the global Church, business and governments to highlight the impact of corruption on the poorest of the poor. The EXPOSED coalition partners include the World Evangelical Alliance, Micah Challenge International, British and Foreign Bible Society, American Bible Society, The Salvation Army, Unashamedly Ethical, Tearfund,
Tearfund Nigeria, Global Day of Prayer, Global Prayer Resource Network, Asian Access, 24/7 Prayer, Jericho Walls Prayer International, Business Action Group, Network of Christian Forums, Langham Partnership/Langham Preachers, Advocates International, Empower21, Malaysian Care/CANOPI, International Federation of Transformation Partners(IFTP), AJS (Associates for a more Just Society Asociación parauna Sociedad más Justa), Tax Justice Network, UNDP or UN Millennium Campaign, Global Poverty Project, Mosaiek Church, CONECAR, Europartners,
For more information about EXPOSED, and to view the toolkits and Global Call Action Tool, go to www.exposed2013.com.
> EXPOSED 2013: Historic Launch of Global Christian Response to Corruption