Amnesty International has given its prime 2016 human rights award to Grammy Award-winning musician Angélique Kidjo and to 3 African youth activist actions for his or her work standing up to injustice, the organisation introduced on Wednesday.
Benin-born Kidjo and groups Y’en a marre from Senegal, le Balai Citoyen from Burkina Faso and Lutte pour le Changement (LUCHA) from the Democratic Republic of Congo have shown “exceptional courage,” Amnesty said.
“(They) have all proved themselves to be bold advocates for human rights, using their talents to inspire others,” Salil Shetty, Amnesty’s secretary general, said in a statement.
Kidjo fled her homeland in the 1980s after being pressured to perform for the country’s repressive regime.
In a 30-year career spawning 12 albums, she has been a prominent campaigner for freedom of expression and against female genital mutilation.
Y’en a marre (Fed Up) is a group of Senegalese rappers and journalists who joined forces in 2011 to encourage young people to register to vote in the country’s election and exercise their right to freedom of expression.
Y’en a marre has remained active since the election, hosting meetings and urging the new government to implement promised changes such as land reform, a key issue affecting Senegal’s rural poor.
Kidjo and her fellow awardees will be honoured at a ceremony in Dakar, Senegal, on May 28.