Celebrities Join 18 Million "Voices" Bound for Hong Kong

By Oxfam

LOS ANGELES – (December 12, 2005) Three more international celebrities have lent their voices to a global petition of almost 18 million people calling for reform at the World Trade Organization (WTO) meeting in Hong Kong from December 13 to 18. Trade has the potential to lift millions out of poverty and key decisions are being made over the next week that could have major implications for the over one billion people in the world living on less than $1 per day.

Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal, singer Angelique Kidjou, from Benin, and Chinese rockstar Anthony Wong are among Oxfam's delegation to the trade summit where trade ministers have the chance to take a big step forward in reforming the rigged rules of trade.

The celebrity campaigners are lending their voices to the "Big Noise" – an Oxfam supported global petition of 17.8 million people calling on world leaders to make trade work for the poor. The delegation has traveled to Hong Kong as part of Oxfam’s Make Trade Fair campaign which focuses on changing the rules of trade to help small farmers and the poor around the world.

Of the 17.8 million people who have joined the Big Noise so far, over 80% come from developing countries, many of whom are farmers. The Big Noise was presented around the world to Trade Ministers and delegations en route to the Ministerial and was presented to Pascal Lamy, Director General of the WTO today in Hong Kong.

Gael Garcia Bernal, who appeared in The Motorcycle Diaries, said attending the WTO meeting was a unique opportunity to help poor farmers. He said he was going to "witness the meetings where commercial rules are discussed, and to show that in this place we can change the future of development in poor countries."

Oxfam's Phil Bloomer, who leads the delegation said: "The voices of these celebrities joined with the voices of 18 million people across the world, creates a powerful force demanding change. We hope it will help developing countries feel strengthened in their resolve to stand firm against a bad deal and encourage the EU and US to understand they are in the spotlight".

The celebrity delegation has also supported Oxfam's campaign to highlight the damage done by rich countries dumping their unwanted farm goods on poor countries. Other celebrities to support the campaign include Coldplay singer Chris Martin, Colin Firth, Antonio Banderas, Alanis Morrisette, Oscar nominee Djimon Hounsou and many others.

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High resolution photos of Gael, Angelique, Anthony, or other stars such as Chris Martin, Djimon Hounsou, Antonio Banderas, Alanis Morrisette and Colin Firth who support the campaign visit www.maketradefair/work/celebs

Gael Bernal is writing a web-blog from Hong Kong for www.maketradefair.com

Interviews in French, Spanish, Mandarin or English can be arranged with Claire Lewis, Oxfam International Artiste Liaison Manager, on mobile 011 44 7818 406010

For other information or interviews in English please call Lyndsay Cruz, Oxfam Special Projects in Los Angeles 562-331-0698

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