Chief executives of the UK’s largest faith-based international development agencies have come together to condemn the government’s decision to merge the Department for International Development with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
In a joint statement, the heads of the agencies, including Christine Allen, director of CAFOD, and Alistair Dutton, chief executive of Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF), raise concerns that the move will impact on the UK’s ability to support the world’s most vulnerable people.
“The abolition of DFID is a political move, and the world’s most vulnerable people will pay the highest price,” they say.
“A global pandemic the likes of which we’ve not seen in our lifetime is tearing through the world’s poorest communities, threatening to reverse decades of development gains. UK Aid is more critical than ever, and it’s essential to ensure the focus remains on fighting poverty and reaching those in greatest need.”
The chief executives point out that Prime Minister Boris Johnson has made clear his intention to use aid to further Britain’s national interests and want that this is “a clear violation of the primary purpose of aid which is to alleviate poverty”.
“This will blunt the impact of aid on those most in need, and risks more people suffering and dying as a result,” they add.
“As people of faith and leaders of organisations which seek to lift up the hungry, the poor and the oppressed, we stand against this act of injustice. We have a moral and ethical duty to neighbours near and far. History will not look kindly on the UK’s retreat into narrow self-interest.”
As well as Mr Dutton and Ms Allen, the statement is also signed by: Amanda Khozi Mukwashi, Chief Executive of Christian Aid; Mark Sheard, CEO of World Vision UK; Nigel Harris, CEO of Tearfund; Peter Waddup, CEO of The Leprosy Mission England and Wales; and Tufail Hussain, Director of Islamic Relief UK.
Picture: File photo dated 12/8/2014 of logistics officer Beverley Sarpong placing UK Aid stickers onto cargo pallets containing British aid items destined for areas suffering humanitarian crisis at DFID’s UK Disaster Response Operations Centre at Cotswold Airport, Kemble. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that he has merged the Department for International Development (Dfid) with the Foreign Office, creating a new department, the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office. (Ben Birchall/PA).