Geneva Quakers speak out against economic injustice
The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) fully shares the concerns about increasing social and economic injustice that lie behind the continuing “Occupy”,
“99%” and “Les Indignés“ protests around the world including Geneva.
Quakers in the United States expressed their support for the “Occupy Wall Street” protests around the United States, while British Quakers joined “Occupy London Stock Exchange” protesters in London and similar protests in other British cities. During the last three months, Quakers in other countries have participated in similar protests against economic injustices in their countries. As 2012 begins, it is important to reiterate these concerns as critical decisions will be made this year, at national and international levels, in relation to sustaining or reforming current financial and economic systems.
Geneva Quakers are aware that Geneva is a major international financial centre, with many powerful banks and other financial institutions active in the city. These financial institutions are responsible for many of the practices that have led to the acute social and economic difficulties now experienced around the world. In addition, banking secrecy in Switzerland, including Geneva, promotes unethical behaviour.
It is the weak and vulnerable who pay the main price of the measures taken by many governments to adjust public fiscal and monetary policies to meet the recessionary crisis and preserve the current international financial system. The richer individuals and large corporations largely escape their full share in these sacrifices. This gives rise to increasing social tensions. In addition, speculative trading in food commodities in Geneva and elsewhere has also contributed to major rises in food prices in recent years that have greatly increased the already worrying levels of food insecurity in poor countries.
Geneva Quakers believe that there is much to be done in Switzerland, as in other Western countries, to make existing financial and economic systems more equitable and sustainable. We believe that expressions of public protest are justified in serving to remind those in positions of financial, economic and political power at national and international levels that they have much to do to radically reform our societies and bring about a transformation to a more just and sustainable world order that respects both basic human rights and the environment.
Geneva, January 2012
The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) grew out of the Reformation in England in the 17th century and France in the 18th. Actively involved in the promotion of justice, peace and the integrity of creation, it was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1947. Keen to support the ideals of the League of Nations, it established its formal presence in Geneva in the 1920s.
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