High Powered Attorney Amal Clooney Takes a Human Rights Stand on Russia’s War on Ukraine
By: John Mason / Arab America Contributing Writer
Amal Clooney has taken her concern about Russia’s attack on Ukraine to the United Nations Security Council. Ms. Clooney censored that body for ignoring the war crimes against the Ukrainian people, most notably women and children. As a champion of worldwide humanitarian causes, she lends her legal human rights expertise to confronting some of the most disturbing abuses of peoples’ basic human rights.
Amal Ramzi Alamuddin (Clooney): Putin makes ‘Slaughterhouse’ out of Ukraine
Amal Clooney spoke out at an informal meeting of the United Nations Security Council this past week in New York on Russia’s war on Ukraine. A powerful human rights attorney in her own right and wife of mega-movie star George Clooney, Ms. Clooney took the floor last week and referred to Ukraine, according to Hollywood Life, as a “slaughterhouse…Right in the heart of Europe [where], Putin’s aggressive war is so outrageous that even after warnings from the US, and Russia’s long criminal record, Ukrainians could not believe this could happen.”
Like many of us, Clooney remarked on the difficulty of processing what’s happening in Ukraine, as Russia continues its brutal invasion of the people and their property. As she noted, “I still read news headlines not knowing how to process them. Could it be that thousands of children are being forcibly deported to Russia? Are teenage girls being raped in the street in front of their families and neighbors? Was a building that had the word ‘children’ painted on it bombed? Are civilians in Mariupol being systematically starved and tortured to death? Unfortunately, the answer is yes.”
Using the resources of her husband George Clooney’s Foundation for Justice, Ms. Clooney aims to “bring accountability to crimes committed during the current conflict.” She has also joined hands with an international legal task force to investigate Russian war crimes in Ukraine. The work of that task force is to investigate war crimes inflicted by Russia’s military on the civilian population of Ukraine. She sees the struggle for justice as just as important and rigorous to implement as warfare itself.
Clooney claims United Nations observes Russian war crimes ‘without consequence’
While speaking informally at the UN, Ms. Clooney also censored that body for ignoring the war crimes she so eloquently spoke of earlier. She averred that this stance only bolstered Russia’s brutal attacks on Ukraine. According to the Hill newspaper, she said, “Here we are, faced with the evidence of crimes of aggression, war crimes, crimes against humanity and mounting evidence each day of the crime of genocide.”
Ms. Clooney implored the UN body, “How did we get here? I believe we got here by ignoring justice for so long. For too long, we have watched as perpetrators of mass human rights abuses have murdered, tortured, and raped without consequence.” She cited Yemen, Syria, and Myanmar as relevant examples.
Because Russia is a permanent member of the UN Security Council with veto power, an initiative such as that suggested by Ms. Clooney would never gain approval. Thus, she stressed other means for holding Russia responsible for its actions, including accusations that its “soldiers have been accused of killing civilians, kidnapping children and raping women.”
Clooney believes that countries have committed war crimes because they “believe they will get away with it, and they have been right.” While she would like the international community to pursue justice in demanding accountability of Russia for its war crimes, the UN Security Council was not the right space for obtaining such justice.
Amal—a perfect role model for young girls and women around the world
Because Amal (Alamuddin) Clooney is the Lebanese wife of superstar George Clooney and a champion of worldwide humanitarian causes, she is celebrated as an icon. Of equal importance is her legal human rights expertise in confronting some of the most disturbing abuses of peoples’ basic human rights.
According to SHARETWEETSHARE, Ms. Clooney over the past few years “has advocated for the rights of young Yazidi women kidnapped and raped by ISIS and recently joined the legal team representing two Reuters journalists who were imprisoned in Myanmar while reporting on the Rohingya refugee crisis.”
Ms. Clooney is known to offer other women help in entering the human rights legal arena. In this regard, she’s quoted as saying, “I remember all the stages in my career where I almost didn’t have enough confidence to try for something [and] almost didn’t have the guts to follow something I was excited about doing, because I didn’t know anyone else who’d done it or other people made me question it.”
Clooney’s support of the women’s movement generally is characterized in a Vogue magazine article, quoted in SHARESWEETSHARE: “As women, we may not be a minority, but there is a bond that we all share. It is not a bond of geography. Or religion. Or culture. It is a bond of shared experience—experiences that only women go through, and struggles that only women face.”
Amal Clooney’s pedigree is exemplative—an Oxford University law degree, a New York University-sponsored internship with now-Supreme Court Justice-then judge in a U.S. Circuit Court-Sonia Sotomayor. But she had paid her dues in working for law firms and as a young attorney with the UN International Court of Justice.
Ms. Clooney’s role as a glamourous personality may obscure some of her work as a prominent legal attorney and avid supporter of human rights for disadvantaged people around the world. Her place as a role model for girls and young women, especially Arab and Arab American women, who aspire to help others is now recognized.
–“Amal Clooney Likens Ukraine to a ‘Slaughterhouse’: Putin’s War is ‘Outrageous’,” Hollywood Life, 4/28/2022
–“Amal Clooney: UN has watched war crimes happen ‘without consequence’,” The Hill, 4/27/2022
–“5 Amazing Facts About Human Rights Lawyer Amal Clooney,” SHARETWEETSHARE, 4/11/2022
John Mason, PhD., who focuses on Arab culture, society, and history, is the author of LEFT-HANDED IN AN ISLAMIC WORLD: An Anthropologist’s Journey into the Middle East, New Academia Publishing, 2017. He has taught at the University of Libya, Benghazi, Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, and the American University in Cairo; John served with the United Nations in Tripoli, Libya, and consulted extensively on socioeconomic and political development for USAID and the World Bank in 65 countries.
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