Belfast Telegraph

Home Opinion Letters

Foreign aid only good if it goes where needed

It seems that the Government is intent on passing a law that 0.7% of our GDP is given in foreign aid. Objections are raised, too much in times of austerity, etc. But that is not my objection.

Given the numbers of starving people in the world, surely even the poorest of us can afford to help. If the starving need food, I have no argument with having some of my money used compulsorily by government, or my conscience pricked by charities.

Unfortunately, the starving appear to receive little of the aid. Far too much is diverted to Swiss accounts of despots, or sold off to local profiteers in recipient countries because the regime has not - and will not - develop the infrastructure for distribution.

There is the awful suspicion that our own Government knows and is quite happy with this since, for them, the real purpose of foreign aid appears to be not famine-relief, but keeping in place and on-side some very dodgy foreign regimes.

Mugabe's Land Rovers and aid to India, which has enough money to have its own nuclear weapon programme, are only two examples of aid not well-directed.

Ask about it and we get fobbed off with a Pontius Pilate-style washing of diplomatic hands. Sovereign nations, can't interfere in internal policy, etc

It won't do. If governments mandate laws on foreign aid, they have an absolute moral obligation to make sure the people are fed.

DISSENTER

Carrickfergus, Co Antrim

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph