South African activist and former judge Justice Albie Sachs has been honoured for his relentless fight for justice as the Clooney Foundation for Justice names its inaugural award after him.
The foundation, established by Hollywood actor and director George Clooney and British-Lebanese barrister specialising in international law and human rights Amal Clooney, announced on May 12 that its “Albie Awards” are for a group of people across the world whose relentless fight for justice has put their lives at risk.
Speaking in a video announcing the 2022 Albie Awards honorees, the Clooney Foundation for Justice co-founder George Clooney said the organisation decided to create an awards show for people who are in jeopardy of going to jail and being killed in the fight for justice and try to make it harder for them to be killed or jailed.
“We named it after Albie Sachs, this amazing lawyer who fought against apartheid, was blown up in a car bomb and lost his arm and was appointed by Mandela,” George said.
The Albie Awards are set to take place on September 22 in New York and the Clooney Foundation for Justice will give out five awards, including the Lifetime Achievement In Pursuit of Justice for Sachs.
“He served on the Constitutional Court, helped prepare the Bill of Rights and was completely undeterred by having lost his arm and the sight in one of his eyes. He has spent his whole life fighting for justice so we couldn’t think of anyone better than Albie to name the words after,” said co-founder Amal.
Other 2022 honorees include award-winning Filipino journalist and Nobel Prize winner Maria Ressa, who faces a lifetime behind bars for her work in the Philippines after she became known for exposing government corruption and human rights violations through her reporting and iACT, an international organisation that works alongside survivors of genocide and other mass atrocities to co-create programmes in support of refugee communities.
Human rights group Viasna will be honoured with the Justice for Democracy Defenders Award.
The group have been a voice of resistance in Belarus for nearly 30 years as it has led a campaign for freedom and democracy; and Kenyan women’s rights campaigner and founder of the Samburu Girls Foundation (SGF) Dr Josephine Kulea; who works with police and local authorities to co-ordinate rescue missions for young girls at risk from child marriage, female genital mutilation (FGM) and other harmful practices. Kulea will be honoured with the Justice for Women Award.
“There is an awful amount of people that we have been in contact with and worked with who are going to be thrown in jail or killed. We can’t change policy or governments but we can make it harder for them by putting them in the spotlight,” the actor and director said.