The organisation’s top award recognises her contribution to advancing human rights.

Singer Alicia Keys and Canadian indigenous rights movements received Amnesty International’s top award – the Ambassador of Conscience Award. It is honours individuals and groups of activists who have shown exceptional courage standing up to injustice, used their talents to inspire others and who have furthered the cause of human rights.

Throughout her career, Alicia Keys, who has won 15 Grammy awards, has campaigned for change on critical issues, such as women’s rights, criminal justice reform, HIV/AIDS, gun violence and the refugee crisis. She founded Keep a Child Alive, an organisation that helps families affected by HIV in Africa and India. Keys also co-founded the We Are Here Movement for millennials that focuses on equality, racial justice, rights of women and children and climate change.

Amnesty International recognised Alicia Keys’s role in advocating human rights and mentioned that the singer participated in social and political campaigns, interweaving her activism with her art. The organisation highlights her struggle for social justice and emphasises the important role art and creativity may play in the process.


Alicia Keys’s speech at the Women’s March in Washington, January 21, 2017

“To receive the Ambassador of Conscience award from Amnesty International is a huge honour. Especially as an activist, as a woman, here in this world, who is driven to recognise the injustice in the world and recognise the unfairness the inequality, the things that have to change, the ways that we as everyday people, all of us, have a part to play in that. Our conscience is something we are all gifted with at birth, no matter who we are. That little voice that speaks to you and tells you when something is not right, I always use as my guide. Since I was a small girl my inner voice would yell at me! Now I just say, okay, what can I do? That is a question we can ask ourselves and then act upon,” Keys commented on the award.

This year’s another winner is groups of activists struggling for indigenous people rights in Canada. Amnesty International awarded the Idle No More movement and the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society that help First Nations, Métis and Inuit people regain control over their land, resources and ecology and provide legal assistance to get financing for federal programmes for indigenous children.

Previous winners of the Ambassador of Conscience Award are South African president Nelson Mandela, writer and Czech president Vaclav Havel, singer Joan Baez, musician Peter Gabriel and other activists and public figures. The awards ceremony will take place in Montreal on May 27.

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