Human Rights Now!

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Human Rights Now!
Tour by Amnesty International
Human Rights Now! (tour logo).jpg
Start date2 September 1988
End date15 October 1988
No. of shows20
Amnesty International benefit events chronology
A Conspiracy of Hope
Human Rights Now!
An Embrace of Hope
Bruce Springsteen tour chronology
Tunnel of Love Express Tour
Human Rights Now!
Bruce Springsteen 1992–1993 World Tour

Human Rights Now! was a worldwide tour of twenty benefit concerts on behalf of Amnesty International that took place over six weeks in 1988. Held not to raise funds but to increase awareness of both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on its 40th anniversary and the work of Amnesty International, the shows featured Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Sting, Peter Gabriel, Tracy Chapman, and Youssou N'Dour, plus guest artists from each of the countries where concerts were held.

Human rights activists and former prisoners from around the world, led by Sonny Venkatrathnam from South Africa, participated in the tour. At each location, the artists and Amnesty leaders held a press conference to discuss human rights, and concert-goers were provided with copies of the Universal Declaration in their language and opportunities to sign the Declaration themselves and join the worldwide human rights movement. The tour featured big concerts at big stadiums such as Camp Nou (90,000 people), Népstadion (80,000), JFK Stadium (78,000), River Plate Stadium (75,000), and Harare (75,000). Only Paris and Toronto got arena shows. The Paris concert was originally going to be Held at a big racing Track that could accommodate 72,000 people, but the promoters changed their minds and it was moved indoors.

The tour was made possible in part by a grant from the Reebok Foundation. The twenty concerts were the second stage of what subsequently became known collectively as the Human Rights Concerts - a series of music events and tours staged by the US Section of Amnesty International between 1986-1998.


Opening stages of the 19 September show at Philadelphia's JFK Stadium.
Human Rights Now! Tour booklet.

The tour was originally conceived by the Executive Director of Amnesty International's U.S. section, Jack Healey after a suggestion from former Executive Director David Hawk, with some limited input from producer Martin Lewis, who had first recruited rock musicians to perform for Amnesty years before for the Secret Policeman's Ball series of benefits.[1][2] Healey developed the concept with famed rock promoter Bill Graham, who had worked with Healey on Amnesty's shorter, United States-only tour in 1986, titled A Conspiracy of Hope, and who acted as tour director. Healey served as executive producer, leading the team of three producers: Mary Daly, Jessica Neuwirth, and James Radner, father of George Radner. The media strategies for the tour, based on concepts originated by Healey and Lewis,[3] were developed by Healey and Daly and executed by tour media director Magdeleno Rose-Avela and Charles Fulwood, Communications Director for Amnesty International USA.[3]


Date City Country Venue Guest artists
2 September 1988 London England Wembley Stadium N/A
4 September 1988 Paris France Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy Michel Jonasz
5 September 1988
6 September 1988 Budapest Hungary Népstadion Hobo Blues Band
János Bródy
8 September 1988 Turin Italy Stadio Comunale Claudio Baglioni
10 September 1988 Barcelona Spain Camp Nou El Último de la Fila
North America
13 September 1988 San José Costa Rica Estadio Nacional Guadalupe Urbina
15 September 1988 Toronto Canada Maple Leaf Gardens k.d. lang
17 September 1988 Montreal Olympic Stadium k.d. lang
Michel Rivard
Daniel Lavoie
19 September 1988 Philadelphia United States John F. Kennedy Stadium Joan Baez
21 September 1988 Los Angeles Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Joan Baez
The Edge
23 September 1988 Oakland Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum Joan Baez
Roy Orbison
27 September 1988 Tokyo Japan Tokyo Dome Kodō
30 September 1988 New Delhi India Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium L. Shankar
Zakir Hussain
3 October 1988 Athens Greece Olympic Stadium George Dalaras
7 October 1988 Harare Zimbabwe National Sports Stadium Oliver Mtukudzi
Cde Chinx
9 October 1988 Abidjan Ivory Coast Stade Félix Houphouët-Boigny Ismaël Isaac
Johnny Clegg
South America
12 October 1988 São Paulo Brazil Parque Antártica Milton Nascimento
Pat Metheny
14 October 1988 Mendoza Argentina Estadio Malvinas Argentinas Los Prisioneros
15 October 1988 Buenos Aires Estadio Monumental Antonio Vespucio Liberti León Gieco
Charly García
Lighters came out for songs such as Peter Gabriel's "Biko" that amplified the themes of the tour.


  1. ^ Gundersen, Edna, "Big show, big impact? Live Earth hopes so", 4 July 2007
  2. ^ "Benchmark benefits through the years", 4 July 2007
  3. ^ a b Henke, James, "Human Rights Now!: Official Book of the Amnesty International World Concert Tour", Bloomsbury Publishing, 1 December 1988 (ISBN 0747503184)