Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Call for a fair deal for the Third World

From Ms Barbara Topp Sir: Your correspondent Rosalind Ingrams (letters, 3 February) suggests that Robert Block's response to what can be done in Rwanda implies "near-imperial moral duties". She also warns of applying "Western" values in Africa and other non-Western areas of the world. What we should be seeking, however, in every possible way, is justice. Justice is not an "imperial moral duty", and it is certainly not a value invented by the West.

Justice needs to be applied to our policies on arms sales, to our policies on trade ensuring that we pay a fair price for the goods that we enjoy, such as tea and coffee; and justice for the poor needs to become the basis for the policies of the IMF and the World Bank. The Structural Adjustment Programmes imposed on developing countries by the IMF and the World Bank are having a devastating effect on the poor, resulting in cuts in wages and jobs, higher food and transport prices, and worse health and education.

After the Second World War, France and Germany realised that economic stability and co-operation would help to ensure a lasting peace in Europe. Surely the same applies to developing countries. At present, the amount we give in aid to developing countries is exceeded by the debt repayments they make to us. While extreme poverty continues to be the lot for millions of people in developing countries, we can only expect continued social unrest and ethnic rivalry. Perhaps we should read again the teachings about justice in the Old Testament, and declare 1995 the year of Jubilee?

Yours faithfully, B. A. ToPP Diocese of Gloucester Board of Social Responsibility Newent, Gloucestershire