Sea rescue and the fight for human rights per phone: For their tireless efforts/commitment on behalf of people seeking protection who find themselves in distress in the Mediterranean, the PRO ASYL Foundation is awarding its 2020/21 Human Rights Prize to Marion Bayer (Hanau), Hela Kanakane (Tunis) and Hagen Kopp (Hanau) from Watch the Med – Alarm Phone.
The three winners will receive the award on behalf of the transnational network Alarm Phone, which operates a hotline for people seeking protection who find themselves in distress in the Mediterranean Sea.
The award will be presented on Saturday, 28 August, in Frankfurt/Main. Moreover, the ceremony can be watched online via live stream on the Foundation’s YouTube channel.
For seven years, the over 200 Alarm Phone members, on both sides of the Mediterranean, have been voluntarily answering emergency calls from people who find themselves in distress on the perilous route across the Mediterranean to Europe in unseaworthy boats: 24 hours, seven days a week – without any break.
In contact with more than 3,700 boats
Since its founding in 2014, Alarm Phone activists have been in contact with more than 3,700 boats and have tried everything – in often desperate situations – to rescue people in the Mediterranean. The network’s volunteers do not run rescue ships themselves, but alert the coast guard, civilian rescue ships, and nearby cargo ships and tankers as soon as they receive a call from people in distress at sea.
The Alarm Phone documents the failure to save lives, systematic human rights violations, push-backs in violation of international law, and the return of thousands of boat people to Libyan detention and torture camps.
Confronted with the voices of people in fear of their lives
In the process, Alarm Phone volunteers are always confronted with the voices of people in fear of their lives. Without the Alarm Phone, many blatant human rights violations and deaths would not be publicly known. The Alarm Phone reconstructs and documents hundreds of deaths through the testimonies and calls of relatives and survivors of boat accidents, as well as local fishermen.
„The human rights award honours three people who consistently defend the right to life. The work of the Alarm Phone is of outstanding importance, because the EU and its member states are applying anti-refugee measures in the Mediterranean and a policy of letting people die,“ says Karl Kopp, board member of the foundation and head of the European department of PRO ASYL. International law is thrown overboard – along with the thousands of people who perish every year while trying to reach Europe by sea.
Due to the corona restrictions PRO ASYL was unable to honour the three prize-winners in person last year. That will be caught up with this year.
Tineke Strik, Member of the European Parliament, will give the tribute
The award ceremony will take place on Saturday, 28 August, starting from 15.30 pm at the Kunstverein Familie Montez, Honsellstraße 7, 60314 Frankfurt/Main, at the Hafenpark at the Osthafen. Tineke Strik, Member of the European Parliament, will give the tribute.
Since 2006, the PRO ASYL Foundation has awarded the human rights prize annually to actors who have made an outstanding contribution to the respect of human rights and the protection of refugees. The prize is endowed with 5,000 euros and the sculpture of the PRO ASYL hand by the artist Ariel Auslender, professor at the Technical University of Darmstadt. This year it is endowed with 10,000 euros.
Journalists are welcome to attend the award ceremony. Registration is necessary at firstname.lastname@example.org
The event will also be live streamed:
English stream: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXpNL8NSP_4
German stream: https://youtu.be/G0BDzA0v0KA