Viasna to receive Justice For Democracy Defenders award
On 29 September, the Clooney Foundation for Justice and the Ford Foundation will host the first-ever ‘Albie Awards’ at the New York Public Library.
Named after Justice Albie Sachs, revered for his heroic commitment to ending apartheid in South Africa, the Albie Awards will honor courageous defenders of justice who are at great risk for what they do.
“We believe that justice must be waged — it doesn’t just happen. So when journalists are locked up just for doing their job, we try to get them out of prison. When young girls are denied the right to study, work, or marry when they want, we help them fight for their rights through the courts. When minorities are targeted for genocide, we help trigger trials against the perpetrators,” said George and Amal Clooney, the Co-Founders of The Clooney Foundation for Justice.
Among other award winners is Viasna Human Rights Center. Viasna will receive the Justice for Democracy Defenders Award for fearlessly and professionally documenting human rights abuses and defending freedom in Belarus. Many of Viasna’s members are behind bars or were forced to flee the country because of their work.
“We are seeing attacks on journalists, human rights defenders, women, LGBTQ people and minorities proliferating worldwide, with very little accountability. With the Albie Awards, we hope to bring much-needed attention to the courageous work of our award-winners and to the critical importance of freedom of the press, the right to protest, and anti-discrimination principles more broadly,” added Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation.
Michelle Obama, Meryl Streep, Oscar Isaac, Dua Lipa, Aloe Blacc, John Oliver, Julia Roberts, Nadia Murad, and Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa are a few of the people who have signed on to be part of the evening and raise their voices on behalf of the honorees.
CFJ’s mission is waging justice to create a world where human rights are protected and no one is above the law. CFJ operates in over 40 countries, providing free legal support to victims of human rights abuses. The foundation's aim is to protect those who are being persecuted and ensure their perpetrators are brought to justice, with a focus on protecting women, journalists, defenders of democracy and minorities.