Amnesty International Concert Brings Russia’s Human Rights Abuses to Forefront

Special guests Pussy Riot demanded the release of prisoners in Russia as Olympics start in the fight for global justice.

Pussy Riot Member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova

Amnesty International's "Bringing Human Rights Home" concert took place Wednesday night at the Barclays Centre in New York featuring a new flood of celebrities, activists and stars uniting for the cause.

While the event wasn't a sell-out, possibly due to the lack of A-list celebrity performers, the line-up hosted by Susan Sarandon included appearances by Sir Bob Geldof, Deborah Harry, The Fray, Lauryn Hill, Yoko Ono, Madonna and special guests, Pussy Riot.

Pussy Riot's Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, who were recently released from jail after being imprisoned for two years for “hooliganism,” took to the stage demanding a free Russia “without Putin” and the release of anti-government prisoners as Russia prepares to open the Olympics in Sochi.

Madonna, who introduced the band, expressed her support for their cause and weighed in on the human rights situation as it affected her personally. She and her band received death threats during her Russian tour.

Putin has come under increasing pressure in recent months for its anti-gay laws and intolerance of political dissent, The Guardian reported.

Amnesty International has been defending human rights for more than 50 years. In the 1980s they enlisted the support of big celebrities like Sting and U2. The latest concert was part of an effort to bring a new wave of human rights activism to the current generation. 








Jodie Gummow is a senior fellow and staff writer at AlterNet.


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