Celebrities present 18 million-strong Make Trade Fair petition to World Trade boss in Hong Kong

12 December 2005

Three international celebrities will present Oxfam's 'Big Noise' petition to Pascal Lamy, the Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), today on the eve of the organization's sixth Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong.

Internationally renowned, Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal, African singer Angelique Kidjo, and Chinese rockstar Anthony Wong will hand over the petition, which has 17.8 million names to Mr. Lamy, and ask him to do all he can to ensure the meeting changes the rules of world trade so that they work for the poor.

The 'Big Noise' handover will be the first in a series of events that Oxfam International will stage at the conference over the week. On Tuesday there will be a demonstration with toy dumper trucks and a celebrity press conference, on Wednesday a tai chi demonstration with a twist, and on Thursday a Make Trade Fair boat will sail in the harbor.

Gael Garcia, who starred in The Motorcycle Diaries, and who has just returned from a visit to see farmers in Mexico with Oxfam, said he was glad to be attending a meeting where rich countries could make major reforms to world trade 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."

Angelique Kidjo said: "What I find most infuriating is that rich farmers are being paid to produce too much food, and then the excess is being dumped on poor countries so their farmers can't sell their own stuff.  This is simply ridiculous!"

Anthony Wong said: "I think that the Big Noise is a good way to demand that leaders who are attending the WTO Meeting change the unfair trade rules so that farmers all over the world can have a better chance to make a good living."

Of the 17.8 million people who have joined the Big Noise so far, over 80% come from developing countries, and many of them are farmers. The Big Noise has already been presented around the world to Trade Ministers and delegations on their way to Hong Kong.

Editors notes

The celebrities will remain at the meeting until December 13 and will be available for one to one interviews. They will take part in a press conference at the Designated People's Activity Area on 13 December at 10.30am

For high resolution photos of Gael, Angelique, Anthony, or other stars such as Chris Martin, Youssou N'dour, Minnie Driver and Colin Firth who support the campaign visit www.maketradefair.com/work/celebs