Human rights pri­ze awar­ded by the PRO ASYL Foun­da­ti­on is pre­sen­ted to Mari­an­na Tze­fera­k­ou and the Greek ‚Group of Lawy­ers for the Rights of Refu­gees and Migrants‚.

The PRO ASYL Hand, the human rights pri­ze awar­ded by the PRO ASYL Foun­da­ti­on is pre­sen­ted this year to the Athens lawy­er Mari­an­na Tze­fera­k­ou. In accep­t­ing this pri­ze, Ms Tze­fera­k­ou repres­ents the Greek ‚Group of Lawy­ers for the Rights of Refu­gees and Migrants‚ as well as sup­port groups from the Aege­an Islands of Chi­os, Samos and Lesbos.

„Mari­an­na Tze­fera­k­ou and her fel­low cam­pai­g­ners repre­sent a dif­fe­rent Euro­pe, which takes uncon­di­tio­nal respon­si­bi­li­ty for the respect of human rights“, says Gün­ter Burk­hardt, board mem­ber of the PRO ASYL Foundation.

Working under dif­fi­cult con­di­ti­ons, the Greek asyl­um net­work sup­ports pro­tec­tion see­kers at this Euro­pean bor­der and in Greek pri­son camps. Its mem­bers fight with pas­si­on, per­sis­tence and com­pe­tence against the ille­gal prac­ti­ce of pre­ven­ting disem­bar­ka­ti­on and the arbi­tra­ry tre­at­ment and detain­ment of pro­tec­tion seekers.

It is thanks to the cou­ra­ge of women like Mari­an­na Tze­fera­k­ou and her col­leagues Jota Mas­sou­ridou (Athens), Natas­sa Stra­chi­ni (Chi­os), Anna Peliz­zo­ni (Samos) and Efi Lat­s­ou­di (Les­bos), to name just a few repre­sen­ta­ti­ves of the net­work, that gross vio­la­ti­ons of human rights in Greece have come to light.

„This pri­ze also repres­ents our com­mit­ment to con­ti­nue working clo­se­ly with our Greek part­ners into the future. Tog­e­ther we will stand up to the fla­grant human rights vio­la­ti­ons com­mit­ted at the bor­ders of Euro­pe“, says Gün­ter Burkhardt.

The key to impro­ving the situa­ti­on of refu­gees in Greece is not only to be found in Athens, but also in Brussels and in the capi­tal cities of the most influ­en­ti­al EU mem­ber sta­tes, for examp­le Ber­lin. In terms of popu­la­ti­on size, Greece is seven times smal­ler than Ger­ma­ny. The fact that the Greek aut­ho­ri­ties regis­tered more asyl­um see­kers in 2007 than Ger­ma­ny shows that a joint fair and sup­por­ti­ve asyl­um sys­tem still does not exist in Europe.

The award cere­mo­ny will take place on 6th Sep­tem­ber 2008 at 10:30am in Frank­furt in Ka-Ein­s/­Öko­haus, Kas­se­ler Stra­ße 1a. The win­ner of the PRO-ASYL-Hand recei­ves 1,000 Euro in pri­ze money. The plastic used to make the PRO-ASYL-Hand was crea­ted by the artist Ari­el Aus­len­der. Born in 1959 in Bue­nos Aires, Mr. Aus­len­der cur­r­ent­ly works as a pro­fes­sor at the Tech­ni­sche Uni­ver­si­tät Darm­stadt (Tech­ni­cal Uni­ver­si­ty in Darm­stadt, Germany).

Gün­ter Burkhardt

Board Mem­ber of the PRO ASYL Foundation

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