Angelina Jolie and Peter Gabriel to Host Benefit Gala for WITNESS
Event to highlight WITNESS' ongoing work to secure sustainable peace in Sierra Leone
For Immediate Release -- 10/13/05


(New York, NY –October 13, 2005) Academy Award-winning actress Angelina Jolie and musician/activist Peter Gabriel will co-host a benefit gala for WITNESS, the international human rights group, on December 5, 2005 in New York City. The event, to be held at The Supper Club in Times Square, will include performances by folk rock icon Emmylou Harris, legendary performers Nile Rodgers and CHIC, and other special guests to be announced soon.

WITNESS, the New York-based organization that deploys video and technology to promote human rights causes worldwide, was co-founded in 1992 by Gabriel, the Reebok Foundation for Human Rights, and Human Rights First (formerly the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights). The benefit will highlight WITNESS' work in the West African country of Sierra Leone, where a devastating 11 year conflict, notorious for the rebels' practice of amputating limbs of civilians, came to an end in 2002.

Jolie traveled with WITNESS Executive Director Gillian Caldwell in May to Sierra Leone where they met with the President and key decision-makers to discuss the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's (TRC) final report investigating the civil war. The TRC was established as a forum for truth telling, a non-partisan investigative body, and a catalyst for the longer-term process of reconciliation. Its final report attributes responsibility for the atrocities and recommends measures to prevent recurrence. WITNESS produced “Witness to Truth,” a companion video to the TRC's written report, which has been key to engaging civil society throughout Sierra Leone in the peace-building and reconciliation process over the past year.

During the visit, Jolie also helped secure key commitments by the country's president to implement the TRC's recommendations. Citing this initial success, Caldwell said, “We are working hard with our local partners and are hopeful that new laws key to ensuring lasting peace in Sierra Leone will be passed before the end of the year.”

Selections of “Witness to Truth” will be screened at the gala. In addition, former child soldier from Sierra Leone Ishmael Beah will share his inspirational story of surviving the loss of his family and repeated trauma, as well as the hope he has given fellow child survivors for nearly a decade.

WITNESS will host a West Coast benefit in Los Angeles on April 6, 2006. More details will be released later this fall.

For information on individual tickets visit: .

Press Contacts:      
Matisse Bustos, WITNESS                                   Su Patel, WITNESS
Tel. 718.783.2000 ext. 306                                 Tel: 718.783.2000 ext. 316
Email:                         Email:

Corporations or individuals interested in event sponsorship, please contact:
Sara Federlein, WITNESS
Tel. 718.783.2000 ext. 304


WITNESS ( ) uses the power of video to open the eyes of the world to human rights abuses.  By partnering with local organizations and empowering human rights defenders, WITNESS brings often unseen images, untold stories and seldom heard voices to the attention of key decision makers, the media, and the general public.  Over the past decade, WITNESS has partnered with groups in more than 60 countries, catalyzing grassroots activism, political engagement, and lasting change.      

Peter Gabriel has earned a worldwide reputation for his innovative work as a musician, writer and video maker. A repeat Grammy winner, Gabriel is also the founder of Real World Records and WOMAD. He is committed to a wide spectrum human and environmental rights.

Angelina Jolie won an Oscar ™ for her role in “Girl, Interrupted” and is also known worldwide for her commitment to raising awareness of issues affecting refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Refugee Agency for which she just received the United Nations Global Humanitarian Action Award.

Emmylou Harris is an 11-time Grammy winner once called a “truly venturesome, genre-transcending pathfinder” for her seamless ability to flow between pop, folk, country and alternative music. She is the winner of Billboard's prestigious Century Award and a committed animal rights activist. Harris is also a spokesperson for the Campaign for a Landmine Free World.

Nile Rodgers is an acclaimed producer, songwriter and musician whose signature style can be found in an amazing array of music - from Madonna to Diana Ross, from David Bowie to Eric Clapton. His band CHIC, co founded with Bernard Edwards, is responsible for some of the 70s most popular hits. Rodgers also founded the We Are Family Foundation to promote tolerance and multiculturalism education and to support victims of intolerance.