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George and Amal Clooney handed gala award for human rights work

George and Amal Clooney and Nice Nailantei Leng’ete were honoured for their humanitarian work (David Cheskin/PA)
George and Amal Clooney and Nice Nailantei Leng’ete were honoured for their humanitarian work (David Cheskin/PA)

George and Amal Clooney have been presented with an award in Scotland in recognition of their work to safeguard human rights.

The actor and his wife, an international human rights lawyer, were handed the honour by Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, at the People’s Postcode Lottery Charity Gala in Edinburgh.

The couple, representing the Clooney Foundation for Justice, also received a cheque for £1 million, raised by the players of People’s Postcode Lottery, during the event at the University of Edinburgh’s McEwan Hall.

It is understood the money will help fund TrialWatch, a project run by the foundation, which now plans to increase its monitoring of trials in countries where human rights are at risk.

During the gala event, the pair were interviewed by broadcaster Natasha Kaplinsky and spoke about the need to protect and enhance human rights.

Amal Clooney said: “The scale of the problem can seem enormous, and the stories you hear unfathomable, and you think: how do you begin to confront something like that.

“It’s individuals who can make a difference in even the most grim circumstances.”

George Clooney said: “This is a spectacular organisation. This is a really special thing. You look around the room and see a hundred people who are doing amazing things – it’s an honour to be part of this.”

He added: “If you end up getting lucky, then you should share that luck. I’ve always felt that.”

The Clooneys were interviewed about their work at the event (Chris Watt/PA)

Following the interview, the Clooneys were presented with their awards by the First Minister.

Ms Sturgeon said: “Amal and George Clooney are worthy recipients of these Postcode Hero Awards which recognise their outstanding commitment to improving people’s lives and ensuring some of the most vulnerable people in our world get the justice, opportunities and support that they need.

“This funding from People’s Postcode Lottery will support the Clooney Foundation for Justice’s powerful work to advance justice for marginalised or persecuted groups, refugees and displaced children.”

Women’s rights campaigner, Nice Nailantei Leng’ete, was also presented with a Postcode Hero award in recognition of her work to end female genital mutilation among Maasai communities in Kenya.

Arriving at the event earlier, George Clooney posed for photographs and signed autographs for fans before heading into the gala.

George Clooney
The event marked a return to Edinburgh for the actor (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Asked how it felt to be in the Scottish capital, Clooney declared: “It’s great. Thanks for the weather, it’s nice out.”

Asked about the award for their humanitarian work, the filmmaker told reporters: “We’ve got a lot of work to do, you know.

“We’re constantly trying to succeed. It’s a long, long process, so wish us luck.”

The Gravity star’s return to the city comes after hundreds of people turned out to welcome him when he visited homelessness campaigners Social Bite and the headquarters of the People’s Postcode Lottery in Edinburgh in November 2015.

The annual People’s Postcode Lottery Charity Gala is a celebration of the work done by the charities which are supported by the lottery’s players.

In total, players have raised more than £400 million for charities and good causes since 2005.

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