'I loathe them': Geldof tears into world leaders
Sir Bob Geldof has torn into world leaders including Aung San Suu Kyi and presidents Trump and Putin – saying he “loathes” them.
Speaking at the One Young World Summit in Bogota, Colombia, the famously outspoken campaigner said: “On this stage are some of the greatest people who have fought for justice and peace and equality in our world,” referring to the Nobel Peace Laureates at the event.
“And one of their number in Myanmar insults them – insults them all. Who took the greatest prize that humans can give to another and then becomes one of the great ethnic cleansers of our planet. This is a disgrace.”
Sir Bob was referring to Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been criticised for failing to stop the persecution of the country’s Muslim Rohingya population.
UN human rights chief, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, has described it as “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing”.
Nearly 600,000 Rohingya have gone to neighbouring Bangladesh since violence erupted in Rakhine state in October 2016 – 500,000 of these after an upsurge in the last five weeks.
They said they escaped the Buddhist-majority Myanmar after their villages were burned to the ground by soldiers.
The refugees are now packed into overcrowded camps along the border with Bangladesh and there is an increasing risk of disease.
Sir Bob, famous for his fundraising for crises in Africa in the 1980s, was joined at the opening of the summit by former UN chief Kofi Annan and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.
He also directed his ire at the leaders of Russia, China, the US and Turkey.
“I’m sick of these leaders. I’m sick of Putin, I’m sick of Xi Jinping, I’m sick of Trump, I’m sick of Erdogan,” he said.
“I loathe these people. I despise these people. How dare they behave in the manner they behave. How dare they daily insult us as human beings?”
The One World Conference is a summit of young people and world and business leaders that debates ideas and solutions to world problems.
Previous speakers have included Justin Trudeau, Emma Watson, Sir Richard Branson and Twitter founder Jack Dorsey.