THE BLOG
10/29/2013 05:33 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Lou Reed Was a Powerful Ally in the Cause of Human Rights, says Amnesty International USA

With the sad passing of Lou Reed, the human rights movement has lost a powerful voice for humanity and a strong ally in the defense of freedom and justice. Just as he inspired generations of rock fans with his indelible songs, he was also a passionate proponent for our cause. At his core, he bridled against repression in all its forms and he inspired others to speak up to protect human rights.

One of his many admirers was the late Czech president and human rights activist Vaclav Havel, who famously smuggled a Velvet Underground album out of New York in the late 1960s. The two men later became friends.

In 1986, Lou joined with other leading musicians for the first of Amnesty International's "Human Rights Concerts" series -- performing at all six concerts on the "A Conspiracy Of Hope" U.S. tour.

Recently, he very generously supported the release of his historic performances as part of Amnesty's DVD box-set of those concerts. We send our deep condolences to his loved ones. He will be greatly missed by the human rights movement that he so strongly and eloquently supported.

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