The Human Rights Foundation recently criticized soccer star Lionel Messi for supporting the Bongo family. Messi had visited Gabon to promote the upcoming 2017 Africa Cup of Nations, which will be held in the country. The player was pictured with the president of Gabon, who is infamous for the dictatorial rule and suspected facilitation of ritual murder of children in Gabon. Lionel denied the allegations that said he accepted £2.46m to take part in the African trip.
The president of HRF, Thor Halvorseen commented on the situation in the organization’s website. He said that Messi had damaged the credibility of his charitable organization. He continued by saying that the superstar claims to advocate for children’s rights by working with UNICEF even though he supports the government that declines to initiate investigations on the murder of children.
He continued by saying that Messi’s trip was part of the Bongo family’s PR campaign to promote the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations to be held in the country. Thor concluded by saying that despite the fact that the Bongo family’s misappropriation has left approximately 20 percent of Gabon population to live on less than $2 a day.
Alex Gladstein, the chief strategy officer of HRF also commented on the matter. He told Messi that it would be ethical to release a statement that showed his support for the country’s activists and environmentalist. He also advised him to press the authorities to investigate the ongoing deaths of children.
The Human Rights Foundation on YouTube captures the nonprofit’s essence. Watch some videos on their channel, and you’ll learn that HRF is a global organization that promotes policies that protect human rights. Thor Halvorssen Mendoza founded the organization in 2005. Thor is from Venezuela and is a film producer and human rights activist. The organization’s headquarters is in New York City. HRF is responsible for the Oslo Freedom Forum, which involves international conferences that are attended by heads of state and other public figures to eradicate human suffering and exposing dictatorships.