BERLIN — Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel has obtained a United Nations award for her 2015 choice to welcome refugees into the nation.
Merkel, who left workplace final yr, was awarded the Félix Houphouët-Boigny UNESCO Peace Prize in Ivory Coast’s capital Yamoussoukro on Wednesday.
“All the members of the jury had been touched by her brave choice in 2015 to welcome greater than 1.2 million refugees, notably from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Eritrea. This is the legacy she leaves,” the jury wrote in August final yr when the choice was first introduced.
“Working resolutely and laborious for peace is much more vital than it has ever been,” Angela Merkel mentioned in her acceptance speech. “Dialogue is the weapon of the robust and never the weak,” she added, quoting Houphouët-Boigny, Ivory Coast’s first president after its independence from France in 1960.
Merkel thanked the jury for making their selection, which “focuses on the truth that battle … additionally implies that folks have to go away their dwelling international locations,” referring to refugees from Ukraine.
“We had thought that the time of battle in Europe had handed,” Merkel mentioned. “But because the twenty fourth of February of final yr, which is when Russia’s vicious aggression on Ukraine befell, we have now come to the unhappy conclusion that that’s not the case. This has shaken Europe to its roots.”
In 2015, Germany carried out an “open-door” refugee policy and Merkel mentioned many individuals all through the nation supported it, exhibiting that Germany might supply a heat welcome.
“I specific my sincerest because of all of these [people] as a result of I contemplate them to be winners of this prize as properly,” she mentioned.
At the ceremony, tributes had been paid to Merkel and her refugee policy.
Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO’s director normal, praised the “brave choice” to just accept greater than one million refugees. “You took dangers … you place the Universal Declaration of Human Rights into motion,” Azoulay mentioned.
Jury president and 2018 Nobel Peace Prize Winner Denis Mukwege mentioned “we commend your humanity, your spirit of solidarity and your eager sense of ethics and your inspiring management.”
Before the certificates was handed over, a brief video reconstructed the steps resulting in Merkel’s choice, culminating in her well-known quote “Wir schaffen das” (“We will get it carried out”) and referring to the previous chancellor as “Mama Merkel.”
The prize has been awarded every year since 1991 to people or organizations which have made important efforts to advertise, analysis or safe peace. The first winners had been Nelson Mandela and Frederik Willem de Klerk.