USA/Germany: Jennifer Lopez to receive Amnesty International award for producing 'Bordertown'

Upcoming dramatic film based on mass murders of Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights in Juarez, Mexico

New website to galvanise public to act to end femicide

Amnesty International today announced that Jennifer Lopez will receive its “Artists for Amnesty” award at the Berlin Film Festival in recognition of her work as producer and star of Bordertown, a film exposing the ongoing murders of hundreds of Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights in the border city of Juarez, Mexico. Nobel Peace Prize winner Jose Ramos-Horta will present the award to Lopez at a ceremony co-hosted by Amnesty International and the William Morris Agency on 14 February.

In Bordertown, Lopez plays an investigative journalist reporting on the murders. Antonio Banderas and Martin Sheen co-star in the dramatic thriller, directed by Gregory Nava. Bordertown will have its world premiere on 15 February at the Berlin Film Festival.

“I am deeply honoured to receive this award,” stated Lopez. “Since first hearing of these atrocities in 1998, when Gregory Nava came to me with this project, I desperately wanted to tell this story. I began working to ensure we made this film in order to bring the attention of the world to this tragedy and to pressure the Mexican government to bring to justice those responsible for these horrible crimes.”

Larry Cox, executive director of Amnesty International USA said:

“It sends a strong message to the public when someone like Jennifer Lopez demonstrates her personal commitment to a cause. We are thrilled that her support will help us reach entirely new audiences who can invigorate an international movement to save Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights’s lives.”

Lopez will also receive special recognition and thanks from Norma Andrade, co-founder of Nuestras Hijas de Regreso a Casa (Bring Our Daughters Home), an organisation consisting of mothers and families of the murdered Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights of Juarez.

The Amnesty International ceremony on February 14 marks the sixth anniversary of the kidnapping of Andrade’s 17-year-old daughter Lilia, who was raped and murdered in Juarez.

Viewing Bordertown was a very powerful and emotional experience for Andrade: “Jennifer met with me and the other mothers and showed us the film before anyone else saw it,” she explained. “It was as if I were seeing my daughter again. Like Lilia, the girl in the film was 17 years old, worked in a NAFTA factory and was kidnapped on her way home. She was raped and killed – for no reason except that these men know they can do it and no one will stop them. That is why the murders continue today.”

More than 400 Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights have been murdered in these cities since 1993. Local investigations into the killings have been sloppy and fraught with problems, including unjustifiable delays in the initial and most important stages of the investigations, a failure to secure the crime scene and the falsification of evidence. Amnesty International brought international attention to the issue with missions to Juarez and Mexico City, and by mobilising its worldwide membership in letter-writing campaigns. In 2006, thousands of Amnesty International activists in the U.S.A helped ensure passage of a bipartisan congressional resolution that called on the U.S. and Mexico to stop the human rights scandal.

“I admire the efforts by human rights activists around the world and fellow artists like Salma Hayek, Eve Ensler, Jane Fonda, Sally Field, Gloria Steinem and journalist Diana Washington Valdez,” added Lopez. “I am deeply honoured to join them to continue the work on this very important issue.”

Lopez continues her work with Amnesty International to raise awareness about the femicide in Juarez by launching a bilingual website on February 14 in memory of all the murdered Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights. The site will be used to inspire activism and seek justice for those who have been abducted and murdered in Juarez and Chihuahua, Mexico for more than a decade.

The website will include Amnesty International reports, petitions, documentary footage, testimonials, online chats, contact information for non-governmental organisations in Juarez, and a flash animation depicting the severity of the problem. It will also feature public service announcements by Lopez and her Bordertown co-stars Antonio Banderas, Martin Sheen and Maya Zapata. Lopez and her husband, Marc Anthony, have produced a song, “Porque La Vida Es Asi,” (“Because Life is Like That”), inspired by and dedicated to the Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights of Juarez.

Bonnie Abaunza, director of the “Artists for Amnesty” programme at Amnesty International said:

“Jennifer’s commitment to obtaining justice for the hundreds of Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights and girls who have been brutally murdered in Juarez and Chihuahua, Mexico, is evident. Not only has she produced Bordertown, but she has filmed a PSA [public service announcement] and launched a bilingual web site, both of which will reach hundreds of thousands of people. She is using her international celebrity status to raise awareness about the murders.”

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