Tony Fernandes joins Amnesty International’s Global Council

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KUALA LUMPUR: AirAsia Founder and Group CEO Tony Fernandes is joining Amnesty International’s Global Council (AIGC), the organization announced on Friday.

The Global Council was established in 2013 to help raise public support and financial resources to fuel the organization’s expansion in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.

“It’s an honour to welcome Tony Fernandes and his entrepreneurial spirit and creativity to our Global Council,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary- General of Amnesty International (AI), in a statement.

Having such a notable business figure from Asia on the council will boost the visibility of AI, he added. “It will help boost the human rights issues we focus on in Asia and around the world.”

Fernandes was quoted as saying in the same statement that he joined AI when he was 13.

“Being a member taught me the importance of human rights to human dignity,” he said. “I am therefore honoured to be able to give back to Amnesty International as part of its Global Council.”

He went on to say that he looks forward to creating awareness and driving engagement in Asia, particularly among Asean youth.

As a new member of AIGC, Fernandes will join world renowned Brazilian author Paulo Coelho, entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson, pioneering Japanese artist Yoko Ono, financer and philanthropist Krishna Rao, social activist Hadeel Ibrahim and businessman Bassim Haidar.

Global Council members serve as champions for AI within their own networks and help the organisation’s Secretary-General identify and engage new audiences to promote human rights.

Fernandes is best known for AirAsia, the first low cost airline in Malaysia.

He is also the co-founder of Tune Group, a leisure and entertainment corporation.

In 2015, Time Magazine placed him in the Time 100, the magazine’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.