U2 win Amnesty International award

Irish rock legends U2 tonight added another award to their collection as they were named Amnesty International Ambassadors of Conscience for 2005.

The iconic band, fronted by debt relief campaigner Bono, were given the honour by Chilean President-elect Michelle Bachelet in the National Stadium in Santiago de Chile.

U2 chose the venue in a poignant reminder of those killed following a coup led by General Augusto Pinochet 1973 as the stadium was turned into a place of detention, torture and death.

Irene Khan, Amnesty International’s secretary general, said U2’s efforts to highlight human rights’ abuses had been unwavering.

“Their leadership in linking music to the struggle for human rights and human dignity worldwide has been ground-breaking and unwavering,” she said.

“They have inspired and empowered millions with their music and by speaking out on behalf of the poor, the powerless and the oppressed.”

The Ambassador of Conscience Award, inspired by a poem written for Amnesty by Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney, aims to promote the work of Amnesty by association with the life, work and example of its Ambassadors.

Other previous winners include the first president of the Czech Republic Vaclav Havel, and former Irish President and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson.

U2 were also praised for their efforts to promote the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which has featured prominently at all U2 concerts on their current Vertigo World Tour.

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