Hollywood star Ewan McGregor made a desperate plea on behalf of Africa's AIDS orphans following a five-day trip to Malawi yesterday (15DEC05).

The Star Wars actor, an ambassador for the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef), urged world leaders and the public to unite to reach the millions of children orphaned by the epidemic.

He says, "Children in Malawi are facing uncertain futures. Their mothers and fathers, teachers, aunts, uncles, doctors and nurses are simply dying around them because of AIDS.

"They are left alone, forced to grow up too fast, robbed of their childhoods and missing out on the play, love and education they need.

"Though many are being reached through the UNICEF projects I saw during my trip, we need to urgently reach the ones who are still all alone.

"UNICEF is calling on everyone - world leaders, governments, corporations and the general public - to unite in action against AIDS and put children at the centre of the global response."