Words on World Music

Peter Gabriel named Ambassador of Conscience by Amnesty International

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

Amnesty International have named world musician Peter Gabriel as their 2008 Ambassador of Conscience.

‘For over 25 years Peter Gabriel has, through his involvement with the pioneering Amnesty International music tours ‘of the 1980’s, his establishment and promotion of “Witness”, and his more recent inspiration which lead to the creation of “The Elders”, been at the very vanguard of the struggle for human rights and justice around the world.’ said Art for Amnesty’s Bill Shipsey.

‘Any one of the above would have justified his selection as an Amnesty International ‘Ambassador of Conscience’ continued Shipsey. ‘To have pioneered all three is a remarkable achievement from an even more remarkable man.’

The honour was bestowed on Mr. Gabriel by former Ambassador of Conscience, the Edge of U2, at a ceremony in London on September 10. 

Other people to previously hold the title are Nelson Mandela, Vaclav Havel, Hilda Gonzalez and Mary Robinson. Now in its sixth year, the AOC recognises exceptional individual leadership in the fight to protect and promote human rights.

The date also marked the kick-off of the Small Places tour.small-places-tour_sm2.jpgsmall-places-tour_sm2.jpgsmall-places-tour_sm2.jpg

Amnesty International marks the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with the ‘Small Places Tour’. Inspired by Eleanor Roosevelt’s call for ‘concerted citizen action’ in her famous “small places” speech in 1958, musicians and fans will raise their voices in song and action in venues, cities, towns, communities, neighborhoods and workplaces. Through hundreds of concerts held around the world, we will draw attention to urgent human rights concerns, recruit thousands of new human rights activists and, hopefully, raise much needed funds for Amnesty campaigns. Amnesty’s 2008 priority campaigns include working to stop violence against women, stopping torture, ending the killing in Darfur, controlling small arms, demanding the closure of Guantánamo, challenging China’s human rights record including its actions in Tibet and working for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners in Burma.

Artists on the Small Places Tour will use their music to inspire and engage new human rights activists throughout the world. Events will include 11 September concerts in Namibia highlighting human rights in Zimbabwe; and in Estonia with REM where fans will engage in Amnesty International’s campaign to release Burmese activist Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners in Myanmar.

The tour will culminate on International Human Rights Day on 10 December, with dozens of concerts held throughout the world.

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