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 presse@proasyl.de

The event will also be live streamed:

Eng­lish stream: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXpNL8NSP_4

Ger­man stream: https://youtu.be/G0BDzA0v0KA



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