Cyprus, help bring truth into focus

‘1CY’ read the number plate of the Cypriot Ambassador’s car as he arrived at a photo exhibition marking the start of Cyprus’ Presidency of the European Union; and icy, unfortunately, aptly describes the initial reception we received.

Arriving dressed as miners with a photo exhibition of our own, last night we wanted to help Cypriots see that secrecy and corruption is diverting £3,000 a second away from poor communities. While some guests didn’t want to hear our message, most were more than happy to take our dove shaped flyers (the national symbol of Cyprus) explaining the Unearth the Truth campaign – who, after all, can say no to a peace dove?

But why were we there?

Today half the world’s people live in countries rich in oil, gas and minerals.

Yet secrecy and corruption often results in this wealth going missing and not benefiting the citizens of those countries, especially those living in poverty.

Cyprus, in its Presidency of the EU, has an influential role to play in steering negotiations on important new EU Transparency and Accountability Directives that could bring an end to this corruption.

Cyprus can help to ensure that transparency directives are strong and robust and ensure that extractive companies are legally obligated to publish what they pay to all governments for access to oil, gas and minerals. This would provide poor communities with the information they need to hold their own leaders to account.

Tearfund campaigners call on the Cypriot Presidency of the EU to bring truth into focus

Picture what it would be like if that money, instead of going into the pockets of a few, was going into projects to fund schools, hospitals and infrastructure in the communities neighbouring the very quarries where billions of pounds worth of oil, gas and minerals are extracted every year.

This is what we want to see, and Cyprus, during their EU Presidency, have the influence to help make this a reality.

Cyprus, join us in unearthing the truth on corruption

[Written by Rachel Mander, Tearfund campaigner]

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