What’s ”The Albie Award”?

The Clooney Foundation for Justice, founded by Amal and George Clooney, honoured Albie Sachs by naming the foundation’s inaugural Albie Award after the South African judge.

“We founded the Clooney Foundation for Justice because we believe in creating a world where human rights are protected and no one is above the law. We believe that justice, like war, must be waged; it doesn’t just happen on its own,” state the Clooneys. The foundation operates in more than 40 countries, gathers evidence of human rights abuses and provides legal support to victims. 

On naming the awards after Albie Sachs, the Clooneys said: “He has spent his whole life fighting for justice, so we couldn’t think of anyone better than Albie to name the awards after.”

Sachs’ achievements embody the founding principles of the foundation.
The South African activist, lawyer, writer and retired judge began a career in human rights activism in the Defiance of Unjust Laws Campaign while studying towards a law degree at the University of Cape Town.

He then practiced as an advocate at the Cape Bar, aged 21, with much of his work dedicated to defending those charged under the apartheid regime’s racist and oppressive laws. Sachs was detained for 168 days without trial. He went into exile in 1966. He became a victim of a car bomb planted by South African security services in Maputo. He lost his right arm and vision in his left eye in the attack. 

Sachs was appointed by former president Nelson Mandela t in 1994 to serve on the first Constitutional Court Bench He helped draw up South Africa’s Constitution before he hung up his gown in 2009.

Sachs received the award from Michelle Obama, former first lady of the United States.
The event was attended by celebrities including Meryl Streep, Tracee Ellis Ross, Gayle King, Julia Roberts, and held at the New York Public Library on 29 September. 

The Albie Awards recognise “courageous defenders of justice who are at great risk for what they do”. This year’s recipients were:
– South African laywer Albie Sachs: The Lifetime Achievement Award in Pursuit of Justice;   
– Filipina journalist Maria Ressa: Justice For Journalists Award; 
– iAct, an organisation that supports survivors of genocide in refugee camps: Justice For Survivors Award; 
– Belarusian human rights group Viasna: Justice For Democracy Defenders Award; 
– Dr Josephine Kulea of the Kenyan-based Samburu Girls Foundation: Justice For Women Award.

Acknowledgement: Onke Ngcuka /Daily Maverick and Vusi Adonis / iol.co.za
Top image credit: http://versfeld.co.za/versfeld-associates
Vanessa September, Amal Clooney, Albie Sachs and George Clooney

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