New set of John Lennon songs released to raise awareness of crisis in Darfur

Amnesty International has released new recordings of classic John Lennon tracks by artists from all over the world in a ‘digital box set’ to raise awareness of the ongoing human rights crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan.

A special downloadable set contains all the tracks from the double Instant Karma CD issued earlier this year by Warner Bros. Records - including tracks by U2, Green Day, Christina Aguilera, Snow Patrol and Corinne Bailey Rae - plus new and exclusive unreleased material from artists around the world who have united to help stop the violence in Darfur.

These artists include: Angelique Kidjo (Benin), Freshly Ground (South Africa), former Sudanese child soldier Emmanuel Jal, Tina Dico (Denmark), Rocky Dawuni (Ghana), Les Trois Accords (Quebec), Tokio Hotel (Germany), and many more - 66 tracks in all.

All artists recorded their versions of some of John Lennon’s best-loved tracks for Amnesty International’s global online music project, Make Some Noise. The entire collection has been made available for the first time to download as a digital box set through iTunes.

Earlier this year, the double album Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur showcased 23 of the 66 tracks and helped to focus global attention on the human rights crisis in Darfur. Yoko Ono generously granted Amnesty International the rights to all Lennon’s post-Beatles songs and donated all music-publishing royalties to the project. The double album has since achieved Gold sales in Italy, Platinum in Ireland and over 500,000 albums have been shipped worldwide to date.

"I am very honoured that Amnesty International has shown this recognition of my efforts to promote the idea of a more peaceful world. I feel that we are all on the same path, a path I embarked on with my husband John many years ago, and one that I still feel he is with me on," said Yoko Ono.

Amnesty International has a long history of working with the entertainment industry to raise awareness of human rights, including the famous Secret Policeman’s Ball comedy and music shows in the UK and the international Human Rights Now! concert tour.

"Make Some Noise has helped increase global awareness of the human rights situation in Darfur," said Irene Khan, Secretary General of Amnesty International. "The success of Make Some Noise underscores the powerful influence music can have in helping to change the world.

"The generosity of Yoko Ono and the legacy of John Lennon’s music together with the support of international artists continues to expose the unspeakable human tragedy in Darfur - a crisis in which countless civilians have been left unprotected."

Amnesty International activists continue to call on governments around the world to ensure that the 26,000 UN peacekeepers approved by the Security Council are deployed by early 2008. More than four years have passed since the start of the crisis. Killing, hunger, and disease have already caused the death of some 300,000 people, including up to 100,000 people killed in armed attacks.

The UN estimates that 4.2 million people - the majority of the Darfur population - now rely on humanitarian aid. They include 2.2 million facing a miserable future in camps for the displaced in Darfur and 230,000 who fled over the border to refugee camps in Chad. Killings, displacement, rape and hunger continue.

Background

Amnesty International has been mobilising its worldwide membership and resources to campaign for the protection of civilians in the Darfur region of Sudan since 2003.

In 2003 and 2004, Amnesty International supplied some of the earliest eyewitness testimony that warned of the impending catastrophe. Amnesty International has continued to pressure the international community to respond to the situation in Darfur and continues to send frequent research missions to the region, including three so far in 2007. In addition to its lobbying and campaigning on Darfur, Amnesty International has collected tens of thousands of signatures on a petition to be delivered to the US Government urging the United States to take the lead in demanding a speedy timetable for the deployment of the peacekeepers.

The digital box set is available from our shop and to download from iTunes All proceeds go to Amnesty International.

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