Thousands Gather To Hear Mandela Call To Make Poverty History
Twenty two thousand people packed into Trafalgar Square to hear Nelson Mandela issue a challenge to world leaders to act to make poverty history in 2005.
His challenge comes as finance minister from the world's richest countries
arrive in London for the G7 Finance Ministers' meeting where they will
discuss cutting poor countries $39 billion debt burden.
Nelson Mandela said: "Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. I say to all those leaders (of the G8): do not look the other way; do not hesitate.
Recognize that the world is hungry for action, not words."
Nelson Mandela had been invited to London by the Make Poverty History
coalition, which includes 220 organizations across the UK, and he is
scheduled to meet the G7 finance ministers tomorrow.
Adrian Lovett of Oxfam, part of the Make Poverty History coalition said: "Nelson Mandela laid down a tough challenge to world leaders. He also challenged all of us to be the generation that makes poverty history. We have to respond with everything in our power to make his dream a reality."
A sea of people packed into the square and the Metropolitan Police
conservatively estimated that twenty two thousand people, double the amount
the organizers expected.
The hour long rally included a song from Jamelia, the presentation of a
white band to Nelson Mandela from a delegation of school children, and
rousing speeches from Sir Bob Geldof, Adrian Lovett of Oxfam and Kumi
Naidoo of Civicus, an international civil society organization.
Rudo Kwaramba of World Vision, part of the Make Poverty History coalition: "Mandela is an inspiration to all of us. Apartheid was man's creation and
poverty is as well. We have it in our power to consign this scourge to the
past and help lift the millions of people out of the misery of poverty."
Make Poverty History is the UK arm of the Global Call to Action Against
Poverty Coalition, a network of organizations representing 150 million
people from 60 countries.
Kumi Naidoo of Civicus said on behalf of the Global Call to Action Against
Poverty: "Nelson Mandela's speech will not only inspire millions of people to join
the campaign to take action against the injustice of poverty which kills
50,000 people every day. It will also serve notice to world leaders that
this must be the year that everyone across the world pulls together to
For more information please call Caroline Green on 1 202 496 1174.