Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel received the Nansen Prize from UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi on 10th October 2022 in Geneva.
The Award is given to an individual, group or organization who has gone beyond the call of duty to protect refugees, internally displaced or Stateless people.
Angela Merkel was named winner of the prestigious Nansen Award, for offering a haven to over 1.2 million refugees and asylum seekers fleeing violence at the height of the Syrian conflict, the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said.
Each year, the 2022 UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award – named after the Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen, scientist, diplomat and first High Commissioner for Refugees in the League of Nations, from 1920 to 1930, for which he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1922.
It is also 100 years since the creation of the Nansen passport, an identity document for refugees that enable holders to move across borders in search of work.
UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi lauded Ms. Merkel for displaying “great moral and political courage” in helping so many survive and rebuild their lives, who had been forced to flee brutal fighting at home.
In her acceptance speech, Ms. Merkel stressed that that she rejected the selfish instincts of some “with cold hearts”, who wanted Germany to be only for Germans.
“What is important is a future for the country to be self-confident and free”, a Germany which “is open to other human being [… and] can succeed if we do our best”, she said.
The former German Chancellor insisted that the accolade was “also an honour for all the people who have to grips with the tasks we faced.” “My thanks goes first and foremost to all those people”, she said.
Angela Merkel quoted Erich Kästner: “There is nothing good unless you do it.” At the time, many people in the cities and communities as well as many volunteers contributed to meeting the challenges. “From my point of view, this tribute is therefore addressed above all to the countless people who put their hand to the dough at the time, to whom we owe it to have mastered the situation, to have succeeded,” Merkel said.
For UNHCR, this distinction is above all that of “true leadership, appealing to our common humanity, firmly opposing those who preach fear and discrimination. In helping more than a million refugees survive and rebuild, Angela Merkel has shown great moral and political courage,” said Grandi. “Merkel has shown what can be achieved when politicians take the right course of action and strive to find solutions to the world’s challenges rather than simply blaming others,” Grandi added.
(UNHCR and Internet information)