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The BBC's David Shukman
"For most people, treatment is beyond their reach"
 real 56k

Monday, 14 May, 2001, 15:50 GMT 16:50 UK
Bianca Jagger heads Aids campaign
Bianca Jagger in Zambia
Jagger: "We can't abandon those innocent children"
Bianca Jagger, ex-wife of Rolling Stone Mick, is fronting a campaign to help those suffering from Aids in Africa, telling of a "catastrophe of apocalyptic dimensions".

Nicaraguan-born Jagger, 55, recently visited Zambia, where she met children suffering from the disease.

And she is now trying to bring attention to the subject as part of Christian Aid week.

She has long been a campaigner for environmental and human rights, and is also leading a campaign to boycott oil company Esso.

Bianca Jagger in Zambia
Jagger is promoting Christian Aid week
There are 25.3 million people infected with HIV in Africa, she said, and 12 million orphans in the sub-Sahara region.

"When I got there [to Zambia], I felt so lost and so powerless and I feel that we need to act," she said on BBC TV's Breakfast.

"Governments need to act but people can do something as well."

She said the most moving moment was meeting a dying boy who she described as "a little bundle under a blanket" whose mother and two brothers had died.

"The whole situation is a catastrophe of apocalyptic dimensions. Food, medicine, schooling - the whole thing is collapsing."

She said she does not know why more is not being done in industrialised countries.

Boycott

"Is there a particular reason? Is it a moral reason? In any case, we can't abandon all of those innocent children that are dying in Africa."

She also talked about her campaign to boycott Esso over their stance on the Kyoto Treaty.

She said they are questioning the fact that burning fossil fuels affects the climate and are not investing "a single cent" in renewable energy.

Esso has taken out a series of full-page advertisements in American newspapers opposing US participation in the Kyoto protocol, but has said it has previously invested 350m in a range of ventures, including solar power.

Jagger has also been prominent in campaigns against the death penalty in America and for human rights in the Balkans.

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08 May 01 | Business
Consumer boycott to 'stop Esso'
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