July 18, 2008

Amnesty International USA Hosts Former Female Child Soldiers From Liberia for Discussions and Public Screening of New Documentary Film

NEW YORK, July 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Amnesty International USA will host public screenings of a new documentary film, Women of Liberia: Fighting for Peace, by Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Jonathan Stack, on July 22-29 in New York and Washington, DC with discussion afterward by three visiting former female child soldiers who are featured in the film. The women will discuss the social stigma they have faced as former female fighters and their struggle to build better lives for themselves and their children after Liberia's devastating wars.

Upwards of 30,000 women and girls were associated -- through force or desperation -- with the fighting forces in Liberia's war that ended in 2003. They were constant targets for rape and sexual violence by male fighters, and now they are trying to piece together new lives -- burdened by poverty, their missed school years and the social stigma they face as former fighters and ongoing victims of rampant sexual violence.

The former female fighters, Jackie Redd, 30, Mickey Kesseley and Florence Ballah, both 27, will speak at screenings at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 24 at the Tribeca (200 Hudson St.) location of the 92nd St. Y, and at 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 29, at the E Street Cinema in Washington (555 11th St. N.W.)

The screenings are free and open to the public. For more information, please visit: http://www.amnestyusa.org/womenofliberia

Amnesty International is hosting the woman under its priority campaign for passage of the International Violence Against Women Act, a bipartisan bill now before Congress. The bill is a comprehensive approach to U.S. policy to prevent violence against women and girls, which affects an estimated one of three women worldwide and is a leading contributor to poverty in the developing world. The bill specifically addresses post-war situations and would help ensure that former female child soldiers receive the education, skills training and care they need to help sustain better lives for themselves and the next generation.

Women of Liberia: Fighting for Peace was directed by Jonathan Stack, a two-time Academy Award nominee whose award-winning work includes The Farm, about Louisiana's prison in Angola, and two other films about Liberia: Liberia: An Uncivil War and Iron Ladies of Liberia, which aired on PBS.

Journalists who wish to attend the public screenings or interview the three women are asked to contact: Suzanne Trimel, Media Relations Director, at 212-633-4150.

Amnesty International

CONTACT: Suzanne Trimel, +1-212-633-4150, or Ben Somberg,+1-212-633-4268, both of Amnesty International

Web Site: http://www.amnestyusa.org/