German Merkel receives UNESCO Peace Prize in Ivory Coast
YAMOUSSOUKRO, Ivory Coast — Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel received a UNESCO peace prize on Wednesday for her decision to welcome more than 1.2 million migrants to Germany despite resistance at home and among European partners.
Organizers said Merkel showed political courage when Germany in 2015-2016 took in refugees who had fled conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Eritrea.
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Denis Mukwege, chairman of the jury awarding the prize, praised Merkel for opening the doors to Germany “at the same time when many other countries were overwhelmed with fear”.
“You have shown public opinion and decision-makers that we must not only defend our own rights, but those of others in times of crisis, that every society needs more than ever to respect and protect the rights of the man without any form of discrimination,” he said. said.
“We salute your humanity, your spirit of solidarity and your strong sense of ethics and your inspiring leadership,” he added.
In accepting the award, Merkel spoke about the current refugee crisis, in particular the war in Ukraine.
“We thought the time for war in Europe was over,” Merkel said. “But since February 24 last year, when Russia’s brutal aggression against Ukraine took place, we have come to the sad conclusion that this is not the case. This shook Europe to its very roots.
The 68-year-old centre-right politician, who ruled Germany for 16 years, has kept a relatively low profile since his transition to successor Olaf Scholz in December 2021.
Among a few other appearances, the former physicist accepted an award from the UN refugee agency and delivered a speech honoring the former director of a national science academy in which she mentioned flora bowel disease and antibiotic resistance. His political memoirs are due for publication in 2024.
The Félix Houphouët-Boigny Peace Prize awarded to Merkel on Wednesday is named after the first Ivorian president after independence from France in 1960. The prize was presented to Merkel in Yamoussoukro, the Ivorian capital and hometown of the late Houphouët -Boigny.
Larson reported from Dakar, Senegal.