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Mariah Carey criticised by activists for Angola concert

Singer Mariah Carey performs during the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony on the Ellipse near the White House in Washington on December 6, 2013
Singer Mariah Carey performs during the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony on the Ellipse near the White House in Washington on December 6, 2013

US singer Mariah Carey has aroused the indignation of human rights activists after performing in front of Angola's veteran President Jose Eduardo dos Santos for a reported $1 million.

The Human Rights Foundation accused the "All I Want For Christmas Is You" hit singer of having been "purchased" to entertain one of Africa's wealthiest families in one of the world's poorest nations.

"Mariah Carey can't seem to get enough dictator cash, reportedly more than $1 million this time," said the group's Thor Halvorssen, citing an earlier show for one of former Libyan strongman Moamer Kadhafi's sons.

Carey performed for two hours on Sunday at a gala in Luanda for the Red Cross which raised at least $65,000 for the charity, according to the state news agency Angop.

The agency's website shows Carey singing in a Father Christmas-inspired red mini-dress with white trim and posing with Dos Santos and his daughter Isabel.

The event was sponsored by a mobile phone company owned by Isabel Dos Santos -- a billionaire whom Forbes lists as Africa's seventh richest person -- who also is the charity's president.

Jose Eduardo dos Santos has governed the war-ravaged southern African nation for 34 years since independence from Portugal.

Angola's President Josa Eduardo dos Santos speaks during his inauguration ceremony in Luanda on September 26, 2012
Angola's President Josa Eduardo dos Santos speaks during his inauguration ceremony in Luanda on September 26, 2012

He retained the post for the first time through the ballot box last year after general elections won by his party.

Amid growing criticism of his rule, there are frequent outcries from civil society over police violence and crackdowns.

Anti-corruption lobbyist Rafael Marques de Morais pointed to the death of an activist in November who had been posting flyers for missing activists.

"How does Mariah Carey, the artist and humanist, who so often speaks about human rights, feel about that?" he asked.

Angola is Africa's second oil producer after Nigeria but is ranked as the world's 153rd most corrupt state out of 177 countries.

"It is the sad spectacle of an international artist purchased by a ruthless police state to entertain and whitewash the father-daughter kleptocracy that has amassed billions in ill-gotten wealth while the majority of Angola lives on less than $2 a day," said Halvorssen.

In 2008, Carey performed for late Libyan dictator Kadhafi's son Seif and three years later said she felt "horrible and embarrassed".

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