Amnesty International Secretary General Irene Khan said: "From Live Aid in 1985 and Amnesty International's 1986 Conspiracy of Hope tour, through to Live 8, U2 has arguably done more than any other band to highlight the cause of global human rights in general and Amnesty International's work in particular."
She continued: "Their leadership in linking music to the struggle for human rights and human dignity worldwide has been ground-breaking and unwavering.
"They have inspired and empowered millions with their music and by speaking out on behalf of the poor, the powerless and the oppressed."
Art for Amnesty founder Bill Shipsey said U2 would be worthy candidates of the award for their music alone.
"With songs like Pride (In The Name of Love), MLK, Miss Sarajevo, Mothers of the Disappeared, Walk On (written for Burmese political activist Aung San Syu Kyi), and of course the song that has become an anthem to Amnesty, One, U2 has helped spread the human rights message of Amnesty International to a global audience," he said.
"They have brought the issues of debt, aid and trade, particularly as they affect Africa, to the world's attention."
The award recognises exceptional individual leadership in the fight to protect and promote human rights. It is inspired by a poem written for Amnesty International by Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney.
I've written about U2 and Bono here.