UN awards Nansen Refugee Award to former German Chancellor Merkel

Angela Merkel. [Photo/Agencies]

GENEVA — The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) announced on Tuesday that former German Chancellor Angela Merkel will receive the 2022 UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award.

The selection committee said it recognized “Merkel’s leadership, courage and compassion in ensuring the protection of hundreds of thousands of desperate people” as well as her efforts to find “long-term viable solutions” for those who are seeking safety, according to a statement released Tuesday by the UN refugee agency.

Under Merkel’s leadership, Germany took in more than 1.2 million refugees and asylum seekers in 2015 and 2016, at the height of the conflict in Syria and amid deadly violence elsewhere, UNHCR said in a statement. a statement.

At that time, the then chancellor called on her fellow Germans to reject divisive nationalism and instead urged them to be “self-confident and free, compassionate and open-minded”, the UNHCR said.

Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, hailed Merkel’s determination to protect asylum seekers and uphold human rights, humanitarian principles and international law. “By helping over a million refugees to survive and rebuild, Angela Merkel has shown great moral and political courage,” Grandi said.

In addition to protecting people forced to flee war, persecution and human rights abuses, the former chancellor was the driving force behind Germany’s collective efforts to welcome them and help them integrate into society, through education and training programs, employment programs and labor market integration, according to the statement.

The UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award recognizes extraordinary humanitarian work on behalf of refugees, internally displaced or stateless persons.

James R. Rhodes