It’s Amnesty International’s birthday today, and U2 have donated the use of their song ’40’ to the cause. Reno van Dael reflects on U2 and Amnesty’s shared history.

by Reno van Dael

40 years ago today, Peter Benenson launched an Appeal for Amnesty ’61 with the publication of an article, “The Forgotten Prisoners” in The Observer. It proved to be the genesis of what became an international human rights organisation, Amnesty International.

One of the key principles upon which Amnesty International is based, is impartiality in any conflict. This is a position U2 take on many issues, often reflected in their lyrics (e.g. Sunday Bloody Sunday) and public statements.

U2 have supported Amnesty International in many ways, to the extent of representing the organisation. In 1994, Bono accepted the Free Your Mind Award on Amnesty’s behalf.

As long as human rights are trampled underfoot somewhere on this planet, Amnesty International will be there to stand up for people’s rights. By joining and supporting Amnesty International, you can make a difference.

Today, on Amnesty International’s 40th birthday, U2 have donated their song ’40’ and its lyrics to Amnesty International for their campaign.

“h o w l o n g t o s i n g t h i s s o n g”