Today, a collection of NGOs who have been responsible for leading the rescue effort of refugees at sea are in the pre-selection phase for the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize. MEPs from the Foreign Affairs and Development Committees have just voted for the Greens/EFA group candidates to be included in the shortlist for the Sakharov prize.
The Conference of Presidents of the European Parliament will decide on the winner of the Sakharov Prize on October 25th. The Human Rights Prize will then be awarded at the December plenary session of the European Parliament.
Ernest Urtasun, Member of the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament, comments:
"Rescue at sea is not a crime, it's a responsibility. These brave and committed citizens have been saving lives and standing up for human rights while EU governments have been ignoring their duty to protect. For these rescuers to be nominated for the Sakharov prize is a recognition of their courageous efforts and it sends a reminder to European governments to open their ports to rescue ships.
"Thousands of European citizens took to the streets last Saturday to show their support for the Aquarius II rescue ship. Citizens will not tolerate people dying at sea due to the inaction of governments."
Green/EFA group candidates:
SOS Mediterranée, Médecins Sans Frontières international, Sea-Watch, Sea Eye, Save the Children, Boat Refugee Foundation, Jugend Rettet, Lifeline Rescue Boat, MOAS, Proactiva Open Arms, PROEM-AID.