Mandela given top award by Amnesty International

Mandela will be given the award "Ambassador of Conscience" for symbolising idealistic public life.

india Updated: Sep 19, 2006 11:42 IST

Former South African president Nelson Mandela is to be awarded Amnesty International's most prestigious honour, the human rights body announced on Monday.

Mandela, 88, will be given the "Ambassador of Conscience" award for 2006 by the South African writer and Nobel Literature Laureate Nadine Gordimer in Johannesburg, South Africa, on November 1.

"More than any living person, Nelson Mandela has come to symbolise all that is hopeful and idealistic in public life," said Bill Shipsey, founder of the Dublin-based Art for Amnesty, the organization's global artist support network that organises the annual award.

"His poignant example and personal and political leadership since emerging from prison in February 1990 have been a source of inspiration for millions around the world."

Irish Nobel Literature winner Seamus Heaney, whose poem "From the Republic of Conscience" first inspired the Ambassador of Conscience award, was one of the first to congratulate Mandela.

"To have written a line about 'hope and history' rhyming for Mr Mandela in 1990 is one thing," Heaney said,

"To have the man who made them rhyme accept the award inspired by my poem is something else again."

Irene Khan, Amnesty International's secretary general, said the award honoured Mandela's life and his work advancing the cause of freedom and justice.

"But we fully recognise that it is he in fact who has bestowed a great honour on Amnesty International by acce.

First Published: Sep 19, 2006 09:07 IST