Amal Clooney hits out at Trump in a speech at the UN

Edwina Langley

It was a powerful message that Amal Clooney delivered to the audience of the United Nations Correspondents Association Awards in New York City last night.

In a speech accepting the award for 2018's Global Citizen of the Year, the human rights barrister singled out autocratic regimes in Myanmar and North Korea and claimed US President Donald Trump had given such governments a "green light" through his condemnation of the press.

"The chilling effect is real," she said, "and it has already been felt, not only in Myanmar but further afield. And sadly similar examples abound in autocratic regimes from North Korea to the Philippines, to Hungary, Turkey and Brazil.

"The US President has given such regimes a green light. And labelled the press in this country 'the enemy of the people'."

(SplashNews.com)

She continued, "And, of course, two months ago a Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi walked into a consulate in Istanbul and was brutally tortured to death. In many of the cases that I have worked on too, I have seen journalists and opposition figures ruthlessly targeted so that they can no longer criticise leaders."

She said her presence at the awards, which she attended with her husband George Clooney, was to honour "the journalists being recognised for groundbreaking reporting this year" and claimed the press are "under attack like never before".

(Jawad Elatab / SplashNews.com)

"You are being jailed at a higher rate than ever," she said. "And you are dying while covering wars, not just because you walk, unarmed, into some of the most dangerous places on earth. But because you are are being targeted for exposing crimes committed in war. For speaking the truth that perpetrators find the most difficult to hear."

Clooney, dressed in a £5,000 two-tone Strappy Sweetheart Silk Gown by J. Mendel, was also accompanied by her husband's parents Nina Bruce Warren and Nick Clooney.

(Bergdorf Goodman)

J. Mendel Strappy Sweetheart Two-Tone Silk Gown, £5,089.88, buy it here

Clooney, who is Lebanese-British, is renowned for her work in international law and human rights owing to her involvement in a number of high profile cases, with clients including Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and Yulia Tymoshenko, former prime Minister of Ukraine.