World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


U2 receives Human Rights award at Chile's Stadium

U2 receives Human Rights award at Chile's National Stadium

(Santiago de Chile) In an event that took place last night at the National Stadium, Chilean President-elect Michelle Bachelet presented Amnesty International's Ambassador of Conscience award to the Irish band U2.

The award - inspired by Seamus Heaney's poem "From the Republic of Conscience" -- is a recognition of U2's commitment to the cause of human rights and to the work of Amnesty International.

"U2 has done more than any other public figure to support the work of Amnesty International in promoting and protecting human rights across the world. By helping to place human rights on the international political agenda, U2 has become an inspiration to millions across the world. Through their music, they have created a force for change," said Bill Shipsey, Founder and President of Art for Amnesty -- the organization's global artist support network that organises the annual Award event.

Representatives of a number of human rights organizations - including La Agrupación de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos (Detainees Disappeared Relatives Association), the Fundación de Ayuda Social de las Iglesias Cristianas (Christian Churches' Social Aid Foundation) and the Movimiento de Integración y Liberación Homosexual (Homosexual Integration and Liberation Movement) -- were also present at the event and received a copy of the Poem "From the Republic of Conscience".

"The broad range of human rights organizations present at the ceremony clearly show that human rights in the 21st century need to look beyond prison walls and into the lives of women, men and children marginalized through discrimination and poverty, deprived of basic human rights. Human rights concerns in Chile and in all the Americas are not just a thing of the past, we need to understand what that means for us today" said Margarita Byler, Amnesty International Senior Director of International Mobilization - in Chile on behalf of Irene Khan, Amnesty International Secretary General.

Amnesty International's representatives noted how thousands of people in Chile and across the Americas continue to suffer grave human rights abuses - including torture, injustice, discrimination and lack of access to basic rights such as work, health, land and education.

"Who is accountable for those human rights abuses? It is those governments who defend the use of torture and ill treatment; those governments, corporations and armed groups who persist in abusing the rights of the very people they claim to protect or in whose defence they claim to act." Said Margarita Byler.

"There are still people in this country that are silent, they're sick with their secrets. Their secrets are making them sick. I would like to say to them, this is the moment, the beginning of a new Chile, to set you free from those secrets," Said Bono, leader of U2.

"US Congressman Tom Lantos was, as a child, taken to the death camps in Hungary, by the Nazis. He said that the things that haunted him the most in his life was not the brutal treatment of the Nazis but the things that haunted him later on his life were the faces of the passers by, who saw them as children being put on trains and sent to the concentration camps. The mute, faces. The silence. Not asking questions.

So, when it comes to the poor that you have in Chile, I would like to say that we will not turn away because we know where these people are going. We will go down to the train and we will lie on the tracks and that is our job as artists and as human beings, said Bono.

"Today's award ceremony was full of symbolism. 20 years ago, music was being used in this very stadium to cover despicable human rights abuses. Today, music was used to create pressure for the implementation of a comprehensive human rights program in Chile," said Sergio Laurenti, Director of Amnesty International in Chile.

"No new government should come to power without putting human rights at the heart of its policies. We trust President-elect Michelle Bachelet, who knows all too well what human rights are all about, will implement a human rights program which sets an example to the rest of the region and the world," said Sergio Laurenti.

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>


Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news