George and Amal Clooney on justice mission for women and gay people

March 15, 2019 - 9:19 AM
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George and Amal Clooney
In this photo: Actor and director George Clooney and his wife Amal at the 74th Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy September 2, 2017. (Reuters/ Alessandro Bianchi)

EDINBURGH — Celebrity couple George and Amal Clooney said on Thursday they wanted to use their star power to push for justice globally for women, children, LGBT+ people, religious minorities and journalists.

The 57-year-old Hollywood actor said some countries were using courts to do “really rotten things” and it was important to “shine a light” on where this was happening.

The couple’s Clooney Foundation for Justice, set up in 2016, plans to this year launch, TrialWatch, a project to monitor trials and create an index to track which countries are using courtrooms to oppress minorities and government critics.

Amal Clooney, an international human rights lawyer, said it was important to expose injustices and the countries using courts to target vulnerable people, human rights defenders and press freedom.

“We now have the highest number of journalists in jail in the world since records began,” she told a charity gala organised by the People’s Postcode Lottery in Edinburgh.

The Clooneys, who married in 2014, said they were both committed to using their fame to raise awareness about human rights abuses and corruption.

Amal Clooney, 41, said her job was less glamorous than it might seem as it mainly involved piling through vast amounts of paperwork but their fame could be used to their advantage.

“It helps when we want to engage governments to act or business leaders,” said the British-Lebanese lawyer.

Her actor husband also played down the glamour of fame, joking about being the father of one-year-old twins, but acknowledged that he had always been determined to use the public spotlight to do good.

“I didn’t grow up wealthy,” he said.

“If you end up getting lucky, you should share that luck.”

The Clooneys were in Scotland to collect an award from the People’s Postcode Lottery for their humanitarian work.

Britain’s People’s Postcode Lottery is one of several charity lotteries set up in Europe since 1989 by the Netherlands-based social enterprise Novamedia.

The lottery awards cash prizes and also donates about 32 percent of sales to charity, which has totaled more than 400 million pounds ($530 million) since 2005.

The organization has given money to some of George Clooney’s other charities and has also made a grant to the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters. —Reporting by Belinda Goldsmith @BeeGoldsmith; Editing by Katy Migiro, Thomson Reuters Foundation