- 08 June 2005
CAMPAIGNERS from Sheffield are inviting ministers bound for next week's G8 meeting to give up their luxury 'gala dinner' and instead join crowds in Devonshire Green for a simple bowl of rice.
The invitation was sent out today by the MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY campaign to Justice and Interior ministers from the world's most powerful countries, who are converging in Sheffield from June 15 to 17.
Senior ministers from Britain, USA, Russia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan are due to discuss security and justice issues.
On Thursday June 16 they are due to dine at the Cutler's Hall - and campaigners want the ministers to show they're serious about tackling poverty by trying the kind of dinner billions of people around the world eat every night. The meeting, which is set to make Sheffield a focus of international media attention, comes just weeks before the G8 leaders' summit in Scotland, where the campaign against global poverty looks set to dominate the agenda.
Sir Bob Geldof has already called for a million people to march on Edinburgh.Campaigner Chris Malins, of MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY, said: "We don't know if the ministers will come, but it would be fantastic if they did.
"There will be hundreds of local people there - it's going to be like a big picnic on Devonshire Green, where everyone's there to say 'enough is enough, it's time to do something about this'.
"And if enough of us come, the ministers won't be able to just ignore us."
He added: "The ministers are going to be talking about justice and security.
"We want to remind them that poverty creates insecurity – and not just for the poor. Thirty thousand children die unnecessarily every day.
"When countries like ours are seen to be treating the poorest countries in the world unfairly, that makes the world a more dangerous place. We can either try and solve that by putting up barriers and defences, or we can really solve it by tackling poverty."
The campaigners also issued invites to politicians from Sheffield Council, many of whom pledged their support for the MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY campaign during last Wednesday's council meeting.
Rice for Dinner will take place on Devonshire Green at 7.30pm on Thursday June 16.