Stand Up For Freedom

Who says do-gooders don’t know how to have fun?

Preview by Lara Moloney | 06 Aug 2008

Last year Frankie Boyle, Ed Byrne, Stewart Lee, Jimmy Carr and Simon Amstell - along with many other top names - appeared at the 'Stand up For Freedom' events hosted by Amnesty International. For 2008 two nights of full-on comedic entertainment are in the offing, hosted by Ed Byrne and Andrew Maxwell respectively and with the following acts also confirmed: Rich Hall, Brendon Burns, Mark Watson, Stephen K Amos, Alun Cochrane, Hans Teeuwen, Reginald D Hunter, David O’Doherty and Jo Caulfield.

Look forward to splitting your sides and feeling smug afterwards as all proceeds are going to a good cause: with the Cooperative Bank funding all the staging equipment and overheads, every penny raised goes directly to fund Amnesty projects. The aim of these events is focused on human rights in China, especially relevant in 2008 with the Beijing Olympics looming. A particular focus is on human rights activist Hu Jia. Since his arrest he has been denied access to his lawyer, members of his family and medical treatment, including necessary daily medication for liver disease resulting from Hepatitis B infection. Amnesty, as in 2007, will be bringing treatment of individuals and civil liberties issues in China to the fore.

Amnesty has gone all out and will be organizing events at The Edinburgh International Book Festival, The Festival of Politics and The Festival of Spirituality and Peace. One additional element that often gets overlooked during festival madness is also the Freedom of Expression Awards, which take place during the Fringe, looking for shows that address issues of concern all over the world and that take a new perspective and approach.

Last years winner The Container took place in a lorry and gave individuals the experience of people trafficking first-hand, focusing on issues of racism and asylum. This year numerous entrants have come forward, from The British Ambassador's Belly Dancer to Scratch the Surface, covering topics from sex slaves to Palestine to the stoning of women and homophobia - these are the productions that should make you think.