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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 16 November 2018

Bob Geldof brands Trump, Erdogan 'gang bosses'

One Young World 2018: Geldof urged young people to act to protect human rights

Bob Geldof speaks at the One Young World summit in The Hague. One Young World
Bob Geldof speaks at the One Young World summit in The Hague. One Young World

Activist and musician Bob Geldof has hit out at the leaders of Russia, Turkey, China and the US, accusing them of governing through "force and fear".

Speaking at the One Young World summit in The Hague on Thursday, the 67-year-old front man of the Boomtown Rats said he had been feeling a sense of foreboding at the state of the world and its leaders that had finally come to fruition.

"Putin and Erdogan, Trump and Xi Jinping – all these people are not leaders, they are gang bosses," said Mr Geldof. "Their authority comes through force and fear."

"As individuals, they may survive as the gang boss, but ultimately, their system will fail because it can never give to the people that which all individual people need and crave – which is freedom," he said.

Mr Geldof has been a supporter of the One Young World movement since its inception, and usually reserves his speech at the annual event for criticising world leaders and their inaction on human rights.

Last year, his ire was directed at Burmese State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi over her government’s treatment of the Rohingya minority.

Referring to the Nobel Peace Prize, Mr Geldof said Ms Suu Kyi "took the greatest prize that humans can give to another and then becomes one of the great ethnic cleansers of our planet".

Despite excoriating some world leaders, he did deliver a message of hope and faith in young people and their potential to change global and local politics for the better.

“All generations fail, all," he told the 1,800 delegates at the summit. "Some more spectacularly than others. But, you are the first generation who cannot and must not fail. So much is at stake.”

“The world is broken and needs to be made afresh,” he said.