We petition the Commonwealth Games Committee and the Commonwealth Secretariat to bring pressure to bear on the Delhi authorities to reverse the rise in VAT imposed to cover the shortfall in the 2010 Commonwealth Games budget.
Already the event has had a hugely detrimental impact on the poorest people of the city. Slums have been bulldozed and no alternative accommodation provided. Street vendors have been banned, thus depriving many poor families of their only source of income. Construction workers are being ruthlessly exploited.
As if that were not enough, everything now costs more because VAT has been increased from 12 to 20%. This means that everyone, rich and poor, is footing the bill for the Games. The lasting legacy of the event has already become a legacy of misery for millions, months before the competition begins.
How is this consistent with the Commonwealth Games Federation’s core values of HUMANITY – EQUALITY – DESTINY?
How does it reflect the spirit of the Commonwealth which describes itself in the following words? ‘The Commonwealth is part of the world that it serves, sharing the same interests as those of its citizens: democratic freedom and economic and social development’.
A sporting event is making desperate lives even more wretched, and this cannot be tolerated. There is too much injustice in the world already and this is just one more example of the oppression of the voiceless poor.