activism development poverty

Help stop the vulture funds, again

You may remember last year we celebrated the outlawing of ‘vulture funds‘, in a bill swept through in the final days of the last parliament. It banned the pernicious practice of buying up the unpayable debts of the world’s poorest countries, and then suing them for non payment.

It’s hard to imagine a more disgusting form of investment activity, but Liberia, Madagascar, Mozambique, and Angola have all been victims in the past, often for debts racked up decades ago. Banning them was a victory, but it’s not the end of the vulture funds. They are still free to operate within the UK’s Overseas Territories, such as Jersey, Guernsey, or the Isle of Man. So while we’ve officially banned the practice of suing destitute nations, we’re allowing to continue in the more shadowy offshore parts of Britain.

One vulture fund won a $100 million settlement from the DRC last year in a Jersey court, for a debt incurred under the Mobutu regime. So the next step in the campaign to end this despicable practice is to extend the vulture fund law to Jersey.

Visit the website to send a letter to Jersey’s government. It’ll take you two minutes.

7 comments

  1. Forgive me for my harshness, but, why should it be in anyone’s interest to forgive loans and by extension support irresponsible dictitorial regimes like the one (and only) you mention Mobutu’s Zimbabwe? Don’t take this the wrong way. I think Canada should reduce immigratation numbers and instead we should open our doors to more refugees. This would reduce the burdon on ‘camp countries’ economies and by extension social services and costs… seriously it’s unusual for the neighbour of a refugee producing country to by very wealthy, they are usually equally poor.

    That said, to have no fear of repaying ill-advised debt and defecits, is to provide an advantage to no one. In what way does it encourage responsibility? If I live wisely within my means and my neighbour wastes his monies, why should government pay his now untenable bills? What is the lesson learned?… ‘don’t worry about spending money you don’t have’?… you won’t be called upon to pay accountability?… the more incompetent your government the more someone else will have to ultimately pay?

    Seeing the immense wealth and agricultural value of ‘the bread basket of Africa’ ie Zimbabwe, squandered by corruption, land seizures, graft and corruption of the Mugabe regime, I’m amazed Jeremy that you had the fool-hardiness to even mention it. It’s new moniker should be ‘the basket-case of Africa’ because that’s precisely what Mugabe has made it. These are the regimes you wish to reward??? These are the regimes you wish to NOT hold to account??? TRIPE!!!

    Perhaps the ‘climate refugees’ we both seek are escaping an economic Valhalla and thus should be considered ‘economic-climate refugees’. Unlike the ficticious UN sponsored prediction (oops I mean scenario) these are real folk, displaced by real greed, living in real squalor and possessing real problems. Not some computer model of reality.

  2. My appologies… I became confused in my rant between Mobutu of Zaire and Mugabe of Zimbabwe. Both equally repressive and corrupt but definately different people.

  3. Wow, take a breath. If you’re arguing that it’s right to sue poor countries for debts acquired under former dictators, you can do that elsewhere. Of course these should be written off. They’re not even being paid back to the people who made the loans, but predatory investors who’ve bought the debt cheap.

    It’s disgusting that there’s even a legal mechanism to allow this stuff.

    1. Hi Jeremy! I’m arguing that there’s no point in enforcing unaccountability. The ‘predatory investors’ did not kill the golden goose. They didn’t force anyone to borrow that monies. They in no way benefitted from the expenditure and only became involved when the borrower defaulted on their loans, and by being unreasonable in their willingness to pay their debts became even more worthless to financial institutions. Unfortunately, once again, real peoples assests, real peoples savings and real peoples futures go into the original loans by banks… I assume it’s OK for those who’s monies are at risk to lose it because of (irresponsible) bank practices (re Ireland?)? At what point is the government no longer responsible for peoples stupidity? At what point are we ourselves accountable?

      1. Jeff, we are accountable to whom we give those monies. I give to charities who do not get invloved in politics and are staffed mainly by volunteers. Goverments are incapable of being responsible, it is against their nature.

  4. Good to see that Jubilee Debt Campaign are still keeping an eye on this issue. There are a couple of actions people can take;
    1 for those in the UK, encourage MPs to sign an Early Day Motion

    2 supporting Argentina in resisting the vultures

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