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Amnesty International to honour Madiba
Anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela will be awarded Amnesty International's "Ambassador of Conscience" award.

Anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela will be awarded Amnesty International's "Ambassador of Conscience" award, the highest honour given by the global human rights watchdog, Amnesty said on Tuesday.

"More than any other living person, Nelson Mandela has come to symbolise all that is hopeful and idealistic in public life," said Bill Shipsey, founder of Art for Amnesty and an organiser of the annual award.

Amnesty said it was bestowing the award on Mandela in recognition of his fearless championing of freedom and justice around the world, as well as his advocacy of the rights of millions of people with HIV/Aids in Africa and beyond.

"We fully recognise that it is he, in fact, who has bestowed a great honour on Amnesty International by accepting this award," Amnesty International Secretary General Irene Khan said in a statement.

Mandela, who spent 27 years in apartheid prisons for fighting white rule before leading South Africa to multiracial democracy as the country's first black president in 1994, will be presented with the award in Johannesburg on November 1.

The 88-year-old statesman has cut back his public schedule but still frequently appears to promote Aids awareness and other causes.

He joins prior recipients of the Amnesty award, including former Czech President Vaclav Havel, Irish rock group U2 and former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson. -- Reuters