SIR BOB Geldof has been honoured with a European human rights prize in recognition of his work to alleviate poverty in the developing world, at a ceremony held in Lisbon earlier this week.
“We need to be very serious politically if we want to stop seeing images of people crossing deserts the size of the US in search of better living conditions,” he said after receiving the North-South Prize from the President of the Portuguese Parliament, Jaime Gama.
True to form, Sir Bob did not beat about the bush and took the opportunity to point his finger at Portugal. “Portugal has played a significant part in Africa’s history and they need you now,” he said. “Besides, I know that you have economic interests in Angola and Mozambique and, by supporting them, together with the rich countries, you are also defending yourself.”
Sir Bob also took the opportunity to remind everyone of the plight of Africa, reiterating that 98 per cent of children in Africa go to bed hungry. “And the most serious issue is that 50 per cent of the population are children. Many of them with Aids and Malaria and, one thing is for sure, all are hungry,” he continued.
Geldof, 54, has spent the last 20 years of his life campaigning for human rights and was being honoured for his Band Aid campaign in the 1980s, as well as his more recent Make Poverty History work.
The prize has been awarded every year since 1995 to candidates who have stood out for their exceptional commitment to the protection of human rights, and the defence of pluralistic democracy and North-South partnership and solidarity, according to the North-South Centre.
Honoured alongside Sir Bob Geldof was Ethiopian women’s rights activist, Bogaletch Gebre, founder of the Kembatta Women’s Self-Help Centre.
The European Centre for Global Interdependence and Solidarity, better known as the North-South Centre, was set up in 1989 by the Strasbourg based Council of Europe, guardian of the European Convention on Human Rights, to which 46 countries, including all 25 EU member states, are signatories. The centre’s job is to foster links between the different hemispheres by promoting the Council’s core values of human rights, democracy and the rule of law beyond the European continent.
Geldof’s other recent achievements have included being named Man of Peace 2005 by the Gorbachev Foundation, as well as organising the 10 Live8 concerts in July 2005.