#TaxJustice for #PublicServices Global Week of Action wrap

Published on 
06/27/2017

#TaxJustice for #PublicServices Global Week of Action (19-23 June 2017) events have taken place in some 24 countries including Argentina, Brazil, Guatemala, Peru, Botswana, Burundi, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tunisia, Philippines, Vietnam, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Australia and Canada.

And there’s more to come! GATJ’s regional network Red de Justicia Fiscal de América Latina y el Caribe ‘Paguenlojusto’ campaign tour is continuing on to Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras and Paraguay. And more GATJ members of the Tax & Fiscal Justice Asia network are planning related campaign actions following Ramadan.

Listen to this special RadioLabour broadcast about the global week of action.

Here are some of the latest reports closing out the main campaign week:

GLOBAL

The Tax Justice Network, The Independent Commission for the Reform of International Corporate Taxation, and the Global Alliance for Tax Justice called on the UN Secretary General to make sure the commitment to action on tax abuses by multinational companies remains part of the new UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The SDGs, which replaced the Millennium Development Goals, for the first time committed countries around the world to take action on illicit financial flows (IFFs). The definition of an illicit financial flow has always included tax avoidance by multinational corporations and it is estimated that this alone costs developing countries $200bn a year. The overall scale of illicit financial flows – which also include the laundering of the proceeds of crime, tax abuses by individuals, and other corrupt money – may be significantly higher.  Global action against IFFs ensures greater revenues for governments to deliver crucial public services.

However, ICRICT, Global Alliance for Tax Justice and the Tax Justice Network have become aware of lobbying from actors within the UN system to drop multinational tax issues from the definition of illicit financial flows. In addition, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), a body with neither expertise nor interest in tax issues, has had itself designated the lead organisation for the SDG target on IFFs. If this process is successful in eliminating multinational tax abuses from the monitoring framework, this would go back on the agreement reached by all nations in 2015, and signed off by Guterres’ predecessor Ban Ki-moon.

The three organisations are appealing directly to the Secretary General to step in and to make sure that action on multinational tax avoidance remains a key component in the fight against illicit financial flows.

AFRICA

“Public  services  have  the  potential  to  create  more  equal  societies by countering  social  and economic  inequalities  and  ensuring  the  fulfilment  of  basic human  rights. In the same breath, tax is meant to ensure provision of basic services to all and redistribution of wealth and reduce poverty,” said Alvin Mosioma, Executive Director of Tax Justice Network-Africa. See the full TJN-A World Public Services Day statement here.

In South Africa, ActionAid organized with the Soweto’s Women Forum & Soul City, demanding #safecitiesforwomen

Here’s an excellent video from the residents of Turkana County, Kenya making the strong case for tax justice to fund public services such as healthcare, education and water.

Here are links to just some of the news stories published around the national tax justice campaign meetings organized by PSI, FES, ITUC-Africa and the Nigerian Labour Congress in Abuja, Nigeria on 21-22 June.  “NLC accuses multinationals, rich Nigerians of tax evasion” in the National Online Nigeria and “NLC accuses multinationals, rich Nigerians of tax evasion” in Nigeria Galleria

The Trade Union Congress of Ghana recorded these short interviews with Youth President Nana Koomah and Organizer and Youth Desk Officer, TUC Ghana Abena Afriyie

In Botswana, activists contributed to the photo petition.

ActionAid Burundi and partners organized a World Public Services day forum. Participants discussed the state and quality of public services provided by the government. Discussion focused on the role of public services to provide opportunities for women and youth to overcome poverty, contrasted with the detrimental privatization of basic services. Participants included key ministry representatives in charge of youth, development and local governance, and public infrastructure, along with reps of women's organizations, including the National Women's Forum, three independent watchdog organizations, and the media.

ASIA

Read the Tax & Fiscal Justice Asia World Public Services Day statement here

ActionAid Vietnam issued a video about the global week of action in the country “Working together in the global tax justice movement” with AMPDD and Tax & Fiscal Justice Asia. AA Vietnam also published the policy brief “Double Taxation Treaties in Vietnam: Red carpet for whom?”

LATIN AMERICA

The Federation of Workers in the Municipal Public Service of the State of Ceará (FETAMCE) is organizing consultations with members to prepare its congress, choosing tax justice as their congress theme! These plenary sessions are happening in 10 different regions of the north-east state of Brazil through the last two weeks of June.

"Multinationals do not pay what is fair" contends an opinion editorial published on June 23rd in Carta Capital by the Brazilian working group on #TaxJustice (Grupo de trabalho #JustiçaFiscal), hosted by REBRIP.  The op-ed is subtitled: "Realizing #TaxJustice is the best way to finance public services and rights." In Brazil, coordinating working group members of the "Multinationals, pay your share!" campaign include INESC, IJF, ACD and ISP Brasil.

Also to mark World Public Services Day on June 23rd, in a seminar organized by Oxfam Brasil and the Brazilian NGO Fase in São Paulo, a roundtable focused on “the role of political capture in Brazilian companies’ expansion - the privatization of democracy and tax privileges.” Speakers included Gonzalo Berrón (Vigência/REBRIP), Jocelio Drummond (ISP/REBRIP), Adrián Falco (Campanha Paguem o Justo/SES), Francisco Duran (PUC-SP) and Iara Pietricovsky (INESC/REBRIP). It was an important moment to talk about the "Multinationals, pay your share!" campaign and the link to delivering public services and human rights.

Following the roundtable, seminar participants joined PSI members of Sindicato de los Servidores Municipales de São Paulo (SINDSEP) in a protest in front of Santander Bank, which is implicated in major debt and corruption scandals. While Brazil struggles with a dire fiscal crisis, Santander managed to reap a R$7 billion profit in 2016. Activists emphasized their message that  “Brazil does not have a high tax rate, but rather a highly unequal one.”

Also in São Paulo, members of the Public Health Workers' Union of the State of São Paulo (SindSaúde-SP) protested at a McDonald's, linking the lack of health financing and the fact that this fast food network is one of the largest tax avoiding companies in the world.

The state union of public services workers also organized a joint seminar with the tax administration state workers’ union.

See more details on activities in Brazil on PSI’s website. PSI #TaxJustice for #PublicServices videos are also available in Spanish and Portuguese on the ISP Interaméricas Facebook page

EUROPE

In Germany, tax justice activists joined in the photo petition, including a special message to Chancellor Merkel about the need for corporate tax transparency measures.

Oxfam Italy organized an ‘inequality’ photo contest and announced the winners on World Public Services Day.

MORE!

#TaxJustice for #PublicServices is a campaign initiative of the Global Alliance for Tax Justice and our regional network members, Public Services International, ITUC-Africa, ActionAid, Oxfam, Global Campaign for Education and more partners.

The aim is to build public and political momentum globally to ensure our governments heed our common advocacy messages including to:

  • Use tax revenues to fund the public services and social protections that are the means to ending poverty and inequality.
  • Make multinational corporations and the wealthy pay their share of taxes.

For more photos and links to diverse campaign activities that have taken place during this global week of action, please see:

#TaxJustice for #PublicServices – campaign highlights 1

#TaxJustice for #PublicServices – campaign highlights 2

#TaxJustice for #PublicServices – campaign highlights 3

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