An open letter to:
Jacinda Adern, Prime Minister of New Zealand
Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations
Sona Jobarteh, Musician
Tumelo Mothotoane, Media Entrepreneur
Henrietta Fore, Executive Director, UNICEF
Dear distinguished speakers at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Goalkeepers event, over the last few weeks, we have seen a number of calls from members of the international community for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to withdraw its award to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at next week’s Goalkeepers Event.
The Gates Foundation has made it clear that it will not rescind on its decision to honor Modi. It has become obvious that it is choosing projects and proximity to the Indian government over its own stated principle of seeing “equal value in all lives.”
We are appealing to you to withdraw from the event. Your presence will not only validate this award, but will also set a dangerous precedent whereby problematic leaders can be lauded no matter their crimes.
The report states, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi seldom made statements decrying mob violence…”
Ms. Jobarteh, you broke through gendered constraints to amplify love and respect through your music. PM Modi’s ideology and actions are about nationalism and division.
PM Ardern, when cruel and horrific violence was visited upon the mosque in Christchurch, you led with compassion and unified your country. You taught many of us in the United States lessons about what it means to see human dignity in people that look different or have a different religion. In the process, you became an international hero and a symbol for the type of leadership that is so desperately needed right now.
We are asking all of you to draw upon the values that sustain your life’s work.
It is difficult to understand why Bill and Melinda Gates are so committed to this award. It is not a close call. PM Modi espouses a violent and dangerous ethnonationalism.
Among the many others to have done so, three Nobel Peace laureates have also called on the Gates Foundation to rescind the award.
They are on the right side of history.
In the spirit of Never Again, we hope you will withdraw, too.
Stand With Kashmir is a Kashmiri diaspora-led international solidarity movement that seeks to end the Indian occupation and support the right to self-determination for the people of Kashmir.