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Amnesty International to honor Ai Weiwei, Joan Baez

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Gilles Sabrie/LightRocket via Getty Images

Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei and U.S. folk singer Joan Baez will receive Amnesty International’s top human rights awards, the organization announced in a statement Tuesday.

The Ambassador of Conscience Award “is a celebration of those unique individuals who have used their talents to inspire many, many others to take injustice personally,” Secretary General of Amnesty International Salil Shetty said in the statement.

The awards will be given to the both recipients on May 21 during a ceremony in Berlin.

Unfortunately, Weiwei remains under strict surveillance in China and is unable to leave the country following a 2011 arrest for tax evasion. He still hopes to make it to Berlin to accept the award.

As for Baez, Tuesday marks the 50th anniversary of her performance at the Stars for Freedom rally in the civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery.

Baez also helped establish Amnesty International groups in the San Francisco Bay area in the early 1970s and performed during the 1986 “Conspiracy of Hope” music tour in honor of the organization’s 25th anniversary.

Previous Ambassador of Conscience Award winners include Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai, American singer-songwriter Harry Belafonte, and Irish rock band U2.

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