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+ - British PM Cameron-Increase Defence Decrease Development?->

Submitted by
Habib Malik
Habib Malik writes "Recent proposal from British Prime Minister David Cameron to divert some of the International Aid fund to support UK military has triggered a new debate in the International Non-Governmental organisations (INGO) across UK. It has given rise to the anguish and apprehensions of many concerned INGOS that are working in different parts of the world with a spirit to help and improve the life style of millions of poor people around the globe. The PM’s proposed idea of diverting some of the UK foreign aid for military purposes and peace keeping has also sent a wave of great shock and surprise down my spine as an aid worker and humanitarian.

The proposal, with mainly political implications, can strongly harm the interest of UK registered INGOs and their overseas staff (British and non-British) who are busy serving the poor and needy in the developing countries; in natural and man-made disasters. This PM proposal, if implemented, could most likely break the trust of the people on UK aid workers, who are already facing many physical and emotional challenges in the disaster zones. Hence the mutual relationship between the victims and aid workers, based on respect, trust and confidence could be affected.

UK has already set 0.7% of its annual budget for eradication of poverty from the world as per UN agenda. The UK government has still not met this challenge, although it was going to be this year. The PM‘s decision could lead the target to remain unfinished and unachieved. It can considerably put the lives of the aid workers at risk as they will be looked upon as agents of government or Military departments rather than humanitarians.

Peace keeping, no doubt is an essential issue but it should not be resolved at the peril of poor and needy people who are in desperate need of aid and help. Being an aid worker, I have very minutely witnessed them longing and looking for food, clean water and shelter for their survival. It is not a healthy and sound idea to use the aid for recruiting and deploying armed forces instead of providing the poor with life-saving aid. It would also be a bad idea to build armed colonies and settlements instead of building education and health centres to make people grow both mentally and physically. Can guns and other weapons replace the life saving and much needed medicines? Can gunship helicopters and fire fighters easily substitute for the urgently needed clothes and shelters in different severe weather conditions?

Hundreds of UK aid workers are in ‘field’ at the moment serving humanity around the world, for which British community is rightly proud of. In most cases, they have been deployed for weeks and months, leaving behind their loved ones, are risking their lives through working in some of the most dangerous war affected environments/countries. The ‘decision’ will considerably hurt their passion and selfless devotion.

UK is considered as the world’s most prominent country providing foreign aid to the calamity stricken people and that’s why I have raised this great reservation about this immoral, cynic and frantic decision. I think this PM’s proposal will be a step down an immoral path which UK public should not agree to at any cost. I am sure the UK public would like to see this aid money invested at the grass root levels in some of the underdeveloped countries; in providing clean water facilities, to grow food, to assist people, help a little extra to sell to generate an income and become sustainable and be able to look after families better — to be healthier — to educate and ultimately be responsible human beings."

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British PM Cameron-Increase Defence Decrease Development?

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