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Helping others makes us human - Vivienne Westwood speaks out for Egyptian woman beaten at protest

In a new film Vivienne Westwood revealed her decision to become a punk was a “call to arms” to speak out against war, torture and human rights abuses as she today called for justice for Azza Hilal Ahmad Suleiman – an Egyptian woman who was severely beaten by soldiers during a demonstration near Tahrir Square.

Starring in a new short film designed for Amnesty International’s annual Write for Rights Campaign, the iconic fashion designer also highlighted the importance of empathy, saying:  “I believe it’s important to help other people…It’s what makes us human.”

Westwood also recounted how as a child she ran to the aid of a young boy who was alienated in the school playground, drawing a parallel to the case of Azza Suleiman who now suffers from memory loss after being so badly beaten her skull was fractured after she ran to defend another woman who was stripped and beaten by soldiers during a demonstration near Tahrir Square in December 2011.

Speaking to Amnesty, Vivienne Westwood urged others to become a trendsetter for justice in the case of Azza Suleiman.  She said:

“The bravery shown by Azza Suleiman who dared to stand up for another woman who was being beaten, and paid a heavy price in doing so, is both awe-inspiring and humbling.

“Not only has Azza suffered physical trauma at the hands of those who had a basic responsibility to protect her, she suffered a further blow in being denied the justice she is owed. This is shambolic. 

“I urge everyone to be trendsetters for Azza Suleiman. Let’s make it one fashion which everyone will want to follow.”

Azza Hilal Ahmad Suleiman is one of 15 cases featured in Amnesty’s Write for Rights Campaign – which encourages people across the UK to send a message of solidarity and support to those who have been harassed, threatened or whose rights have been abused. For more information visit or to take action for Azza, visit

Notes to the Editor

  • To embed the film or for photographs to accompany this story, please contact Amnesty International UK media unit
  • Watch the film on YouTube /li>
  • Sunday 25 November marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights

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