George and Amal Clooney are honoring those who have devoted their lives to justice at the first-ever Albie Awards at the New York Public Library on Thursday.
The awards were named after Justice Albie Sachs, a lawyer and former judge who was imprisoned for his fight to end apartheid in South Africa.
“We believe that justice must be waged — it doesn’t just happen,” George and Amal wrote on the Clooney Foundation for Justice website. “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.”
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While on the red carpet Thursday night, George told Access Hollywood all the hard work it took to plan the awards.
“This event, in general, has just been a lot of planning,” he said. “There’s a lot of work to get people here. We had to write ambassadors to get people out, to get people visas to come in here, so it’s been a long process to get everyone here.”
After planning for over a year, several justice defenders from around the world will be honored at the Albie Awards, including Justice Albie Sachs who will be receiving the lifetime achievement award.
Other honorees include Filipino journalist Maria Ressa who will be honored with the Justice For Journalists award; iAct, an organization that supports survivors of genocide in refugee camps, which will be honored with the Justice For Survivors award; Belarusian human rights group Viasna, which will be honored with the Justice For Democracy Defenders award; and Dr. Josephine Kulea of the Samburu Girls Foundation, a Kenyan-based organization, who will be honored with the Justice For Women award.
The event will also feature several notable guests including Michelle Obama, Meryl Streep, Dua Lipa, John Oliver, Julia Roberts and many more.
George and Amal started the Clooney Foundation for Justice to protect human rights and make sure no one is above the law. According to the foundation’s website, it provides “free legal support to victims of human rights abuses” and it’s goal is to “protect those who are being persecuted and ensure their perpetrators are brought to justice.”