The Ambassador of Conscience 2006 award presented by Amnesty International has gone to anti-apartheid leader and former president of South Africa Nelson Mandela. The annual award went to the 88-year-old statesman in recognition of his invincible dedication to the freedom of his people. Imprisoned from 1964 until 1990 for allegedly plotting to overthrow the government, Mandela became the first democratically elected president of South Africa in 1994. He stepped down as president in 1999, since when he has devoted much time to various causes including the battle against HIV/AIDS. He received the Nobel peace prize together with then South African president F. W. de Klerk in 1993.
Established in 2003 to award outstanding leaders in the fight to protect and promote human rights, the Ambassador of Conscience award has been presented to Vaclav Havel, first president of the Czech Republic, Mary Robinson, first woman president of Ireland and then UN high commissioner for human rights, Hilda Morales Trujillo, a member of the National Womens Office (ONAM) and the Network against Violence against Women, and the Irish rock band U2.