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U2 awarded human rights accolade

Irish rock band U2 has been awarded a prestigious accolade by campaign group Amnesty International.

The band have won the 2005 Ambassador of Conscience Award for their "21 years of commitment" to equality.

The body's secretary general Irene Khan said the band had shown "leadership in linking music to the struggle for human rights and human dignity worldwide has been ground-breaking and unwavering".

U2's Bono is a respected campaigner on global debt issues and human rights.

Ms Khan said: "From Live Aid in 1985 and Amnesty International's 1986 Conspiracy of Hope tour, through to Live 8, U2 has arguably done more than any other band to highlight the cause of global human rights in general and Amnesty International's work in particular."

She added: "They have inspired and empowered millions with their music and by speaking out on behalf of the poor, the powerless and the oppressed."

Art for Amnesty founder Bill Shipsey said U2 would be worthy candidates of the award for their music alone.

"With songs like Pride (In The Name of Love), MLK, Miss Sarajevo, Mothers of the Disappeared, Walk On (written for Burmese political activist Aung San Syu Kyi)... U2 has helped spread the human rights message of Amnesty International to a global audience," he said.

U2 are currently in the middle of a world tour, with dates in December in the US and in Australia at the start of 2006.
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