19.09.2016

PRO ASYL awards human rights award 2016 to Father Mussie Zerai

The PRO ASYL Foundation bestowed its human rights award 2016, the PRO ASYL-hand, in front of around 200 participants upon Mussie Zerai. The Eritrean priest and refugee aid worker has been involved in the rescue of refugees in distress at sea for many years.

»I would like to raise my voice for those that have none«, said Mussie Zerai in his acceptance speech. He warned against the destruction of the European dream of being an oasis for human rights and social justice. Zerai decried in his acceptance speech the merciless walls-up policy of the European Union. »Europe pays money to African despots to do the dirty work for the EU.« The EU-Turkey deal serves as a model for further deals of this sort, among others with despotic regimes like Sudan and Eritrea. The many refugees which regularly die on the life-threatening crossing of the Mediterranean are the »fruit of a sick relationship between the north and south of the world«.

Zerais commitment for refugees goes beyond immediate humanitarian help. »Every forwarded cry for help he receives, every failed rescue attempt is cause for him to raise his voice publicly and to remind politicians in Europe of their responsibility for the protection of refugees«, emphasized PRO-ASYL chairman Andreas Lipsch.

Laudatory speaker and journalist Maximilian Popp honored Zerai’s commitment. Zerai was »a lifesaver, a pioneer for humanity and justice«, whose example all citizens should follow, »who are interested in an open, solidary society«, said Popp and at the same time commented sharply on European refugee policy: »The mass dying of refugees on Europe’s external borders is no accident, but the direct result of European policy. The German Basic Law and the European Charter of Fundamental Rights promise protection for all that flee from war or persecution. But the EU member states have been torpedoing this right for years.« While there are endless discussions in the north of the world – in Europe – of how to stop the landing of refugee boats from the south most effectively, Father Zerai accepts calls for help from exactly those boats and initiates the rescue of their desperate passengers.

The human rights award of the PRO ASYL Foundation endowed with 5.000 Euros is being awarded since 2006. It honors personalities which promote respect for human rights and protection of refugees in outstanding ways. It is awarded yearly.

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