Posts Tagged ‘Colin Firth’

Early human rights defender Helen Bamber dies aged 89

August 22, 2014
Helen Bamber dies

(Photograph: Helen Bamber Foundation/PA)

Many newspapers, including the Guardian of 21 August, carry the news of the demise of human rights defender and early member of Amnesty International, Helen Bamber. She died aged 89. Bamber was a psychotherapist who began helping victims of torture and atrocities aged 20 when she started working with survivors of the Holocaust.

She used her vast experience to work with actor Colin Firth on his film The Railway Man, an account of a British officer captured by the Japanese during the second world war and made to work on the Thai-Burma railway.  Firth said his encounter with Bamber was life-changing and the compassion she showed had touched him for life. He said that even in old age and ill-health Bamber continued to be determined to do all she could to help those affected by slavery, torture and human rights abuses: “Her courage, wisdom and pragmatism were formidable – and what she did worked.”

Actress Emma Thompson, who is president of the Helen Bamber Foundation, said: “Not only is she a great listener and an incredible interpreter, but she never lets her imagination run dry…She resists institutionalism. She knows which borders should be crossed and melds them together.”

via Human rights campaigner Helen Bamber dies aged 89 | World news | The Guardian.

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And the Nominees Are……Oscars for Human-Rights !!

February 28, 2014

Regular readers of this blog know that I like the idea of holding  celebrities accountable (most recently:   The reason is that there is a mutually reinforcing (and for many profitable) interaction between the stars and the media (which in turn feed on the interest of the public). Celebrities’ views on all kind of issues – including human rights –  can hardly be called private. Their social media are virtual industries and influence millions globally. So it seems a good idea to have an annual look at which celebrities have advanced and which have harmed the cause of human rights around the world. Halvorssen and Leigh Hancock ( of the Human Rights Foundation) have done exactly that in the Atlantic on 27 February 2004 and linked it to the upcoming Oscars night on Sunday. 

(Gary Hershorn/Reuters)

The list of celebrities deserving recognition for their accomplishments in the field of human rights or those who should be ashamed for supporting human-rights violators, is long and contains many video links. Like the real Oscars, the list is slanted in terms of geopolitical interest and I think that if all major international human rights organisations would get together to agree on a list if would be more balanced, but that is probably wishful thinking. Still, the Human Rights Foundation deserves credit for this creative initiative. and here is the summary:

The Nominees for Outstanding Work in the Field of Human Rights Read the rest of this entry »