George and Amal Clooney speak about ‘war on truth, journalists and women’

George and Amal Clooney speak about ‘war on truth, journalists and women’

Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney has said there is an ongoing war on truth, journalists, and women.

The barrister and her husband, Hollywood actor George Clooney, spoke at the 2024 Skoll World Forum in Oxford about their work with Clooney Foundation For Justice, which they co-founded and co-chair.

Addressing the audience, Amal said: “We’re living through a time when we have more violent conflicts than at any time since the Second World War.”

“And we see women and children increasingly on the front lines”, she added.

“I also think there’s a war on truth and truth-tellers and journalists, and we need to fight against that as well.”

“In too many places there’s a war on women, and women are still fighting the most basic battles for their freedoms,” she added.

Describing what The Clooney Foundation For Justice does, Amal said: “All of our programmes in one way or another, are attempting to meet some of these challenges.

“And the way we do it is by providing free legal support to victims of abuses of human rights.

“So we have a lot still to do. But we’ve had dozens of people freed because of interventions that we’ve made in individual cases.

Prince’s Trust Awards
Amal and George Clooney attending the Prince’s Trust Awards (Ian West/PA)

“We’ve also spent years sometimes trying to track down war criminals and gather enough evidence against them to trigger a prosecution.

“So none of this happens as quickly or as simply as it should. But I think I speak for both of us when I say, and everyone at the foundation, when I say we’re as determined as ever to continue to do this work.”

She later warned about a loss of women’s rights and said: “We see reversals in things like women’s rights, not just in Afghanistan, but also in places like the United States.”

Her Ocean’s Eleven star husband interjected: “Arizona, apparently.”

The state has recently revived an 1864 law that criminalises abortion throughout pregnancy unless a woman’s life is at risk.

George Clooney – BFI London Film Festival 2021
George and Amal (Yui Mok/PA)

The Oscar-winning actor also spoke about how it is possible to bring awareness to issues through storytelling and revealed that he was called a “traitor” when he decided to stand against the US’s decision to wage war on Iraq in 2003.

“(The film) Good Night Good Luck I wrote because I was being called a traitor to my country by my own country for being against the war in Iraq,” he said.

He added: “The idea was anybody who spoke against the war in 2003 was a traitor, and it wasn’t really fun. They were picketing my movies and all that kind of stuff.”

He told the audience that storytelling is about “finding a way to relate to people things that they can understand and not overwhelm them with peas and carrots”.