George and Amal Clooney are setting up a new program to monitor trials and courtrooms around the world that oppress LGBTI people and other groups.
According to Reuters, their Clooney Foundation for Justice is launching TrialWatch this year.
The project aims to ‘monitor trials and create an index to track which countries are using courtrooms to oppress minorities and government critics’.
George Clooney, 57, said courtrooms can be used to do ‘really rotten things’. TrialWatch is meant to ‘shine a light’ on what’s happening with these global trials.
‘We now have the highest number of journalists in jail in the world since records began,’ Amal Clooney said at an event in Edinburgh.
Amal Clooney, 41, is an international human rights lawyer. She is a barrister at Doughty Street Chambers and has represented the likes of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
She said she hopes to use both her and her husband’s fame and power to do good.
‘It helps when we want to engage governments to act or business leaders,’ said the British-Lebanese lawyer.
The couple, who married in 2014, founded their Clooney Foundation for Justice in 2016. It serves ‘the rights of individuals unfairly targeted by oppressive governments through the courts’.
The organization’s mission statement advocates ‘advancing justice for marginalized and vulnerable communities targeted by hate; justice for displaced children deprived of opportunities to learn; justice for refugees seeking to rebuild their lives abroad’.
Power of courts
Courts have the ability to dictate laws in countries and legalize protections for LGBTI people — or the opposite.
ART OF THE CON Why Trump’s plan to end HIV is precluded by his politics. The New York Timesdissects and analyzes Trump’s policies around his announcement that he’ll end HIV by 2030. Let’s start with how his changes to Medicare have already done damage to People Living with HIV.
“Trump’s already proposed a new policy to cut costs for Medicare by reducing the number of drugs that must be made available to people with H.I.V. Bruce Packett, the executive director of the American Academy of H.I.V. Medicine, representing doctors who care for H.I.V. patients, said the administration’s proposals “could be catastrophic” for Medicare patients with the virus, as well as for the president’s campaign to end the epidemic. Trump’s already proposed a new policy to cut costs for Medicare by reducing the number of drugs that must be made available to people with H.I.V. “At least 25 percent of all people living with H.I.V. who are in care in the United States rely on Medicare as their insurer,” Mr. Packett told the Times.
MEME OF THE DAY #Facts
DIANA REDUX George Clooney is standing up for his friend Meghan Markle. While promoting his upcoming Hulu series Catch-22, Clooney, 57, slammed the way Meghan, 37, has been treated since joining the royal family and compared her experience to that of the late Princess Diana.
“They’re just chasing Meghan Markle everywhere, she’s been pursued and vilified,” Clooney told reporters at a press panel, according to Australia’s Who magazine. “She’s a woman who is seven months pregnant and she has been pursued and vilified and chased in the same way that Diana was and it’s history repeating itself.”
PRISON PIPELINE Alabama is adding new plumbing and plans to build three new men’s facilities to cope with the current crisis the state is having in corrections. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) isn’t happy; in a letter the Center said of the expansion: “We are concerned that the governor’s plan fails to address the roots of Alabama’s prison crisis. Alabama continues to incarcerate its people at among the highest rates in the nation, and has drastically overcrowded prisons as a result. Alabama passed sentencing reforms in 2015 but left multiple opportunities to safely reduce the prison population on the table. Neighboring Southern states have moved forward with reforms like minimizing criminalization of marijuana related offenses and increasing threshold amounts for property related offenses that Alabama could consider during the forthcoming session. Implementing these reforms could help reduce Alabama’s prison population from the 160 percent of capacity it is at now to levels that will be safer, more manageable, and less costly to the state. The governor and Legislature should investigate these cost-saving, public safety-improving measures with at least as much zeal as they are pursuing a costly prison construction plan.”
SHAKY RELATIONS Relations between Greece and Turkey have never really had detente and Greece’s still ongoing Great Depression has put Prime Minister Alex Tsipras in compromising positions on many fronts. With no relief or deus ex machina coming to save the day from the West Tsipras has had to look east to Russia and Turkey. Turkey’s Erdogan is still not happy with the Hellenic Republic “harboring” and providing asylum to eight Turkish servicemen wanted by Ankara over their alleged involvement in the 2016 failed coup against Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s regime. Ekathimerinisaid: “The Turkish president has made his annoyance at their being given asylum in Greece abundantly clear and even appears to take it personally. However, he needs to keep in mind two very important dimensions of the issue: Firstly, Greece was among the first countries in the wake of the coup attempt to express support for Erdogan as Turkey’s democratically elected leader – notwithstanding his regime’s civil rights violations which are another matter. Secondly, the Greek justice system is independent and Greece, as a member of the European Union, abides by certain rules and principles. The fact that Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras spoke with Erdogan privately for around two hours during his visit to Ankara can be interpreted as positive. The Turkish president puts a lot of stock in personal ties and in developing a climate of trust with the leaders of other countries. In this sense, Tsipras’s personal appeal – acknowledged even by his political rivals – may prove useful. The crux of the matter, however, is what the two leaders agreed or disagreed on and what this will ultimately mean for the country.”
FOUNDING MOTHERS 50 years after she rose up at Stonewall, Miss Major Griffin-Gracy graces the March cover issue of Out alongside the artist Tourmaline, photographed by Mickalene Thomas. Janet Mock guest edited the cover story, a tribute to the Mothers & Daughters of the Movement.
THE ARAB WOODY ALLEN? Karl Sharro may be the funniest man with roots in the Middle East. “Sharro, who is Lebanese-Iraqi, lives in London, where, officially, he is an architect at a commercial firm called PLP. Unofficially, he is Karl reMarks, a Twitter comedian with a large following and an acid take on Middle Eastern politics” a profile in the new issue of The New Yorker says.
It’s funny stuff: Museums are a frequent target of Sharro’s on Twitter. (“People often ask me, ‘Where is the Middle East?’ It’s the area between Egypt, Iran, Yemen, Turkey, and the British Museum.”) So is religion. (“We’re actually very proud of God in the Middle East. He’s the local guy who went on to acquire international fame.”) And Western media. (“The main worry I have about driverless cars is how Western journalists would get their stories in the Arab world, with no taxi-drivers to talk to.”)
A YEAR AGO ON THIS DAY Can you remember life without them?
“A somber Ansari told the audience that there are two reasons he hasn’t really talked about that ‘whole thing’ much, referring to the story that came out last year on Babe.net accusing him of sexual misconduct. First, he said, he wanted time to process and determine what he wanted to say. Second, “it’s a terrifying thing to talk about.” “There were times I felt really upset and humiliated and embarrassed, and ultimately I just felt terrible this person felt this way,” he continued, his voice wavering. “But you know, after a year, how I feel about it is, I hope it was a step forward. It made me think about a lot, and I hope I’ve become a better person.” Ansari recalled a conversation in which a friend told him it made him rethink every date he’s been on: “If that has made not just me but other guys think about this, and just be more thoughtful and aware and willing to go that extra mile, and make sure someone else is comfortable in that moment, that’s a good thing.”
CAPTAIN CANADIA? Paramount has tapped Chris Evans to star in their blockbuster new film Infinite, to be helmed by Equalizer director Antoine Fuqua. “Evans will star as Evan Michaels, a man haunted by past lives who discovers a secret society of near-immortal people who must stop an evil mastermind planning on destroying the planet,” saidEntertainment Tonight Canada.
This is clearly an act of aggression. There are literally hundreds of photos to choose from. What did I ever do to you, Canada? https://t.co/3sAEARiTq4
TRANS IS BEAUTIFUL Photographer Louis Carr says of his friend Sabel Samone-Loreca, “I’ve known her for about four years now. In this time 90 percent of what I know for sure about transgender individuals has come through having her as a friend. I was honored when she asked me to come to the hospital when she had her surgery. Stood right beside her bed, made jokes and saw her beautiful smile. “I’m glad you’re here brother, ” smiling I said, “thanks for allowing me to be here with you. Her mother was there along with other friends. I learned so much that day. I’m honored to call her my friend.”