The Hellenic Rescue Team (HRT) and Efi Latsoudi, the human rights activist behind “PIKPA village” in Lesvos, awarded this year’s NANSEN Refugee Award by the UNHCR.
This award is a tremendous honor for volunteerism and at the same time a great legacy for all the volunteers of the organization operating in the branches of HRT in Lesvos, Samos, Kos and the newest of all in Chios, but also to all our volunteers who, in their own way, helped during the refugee crisis. According to an announcement of the UNHCR, the Hellenic Rescue Team was chosen “for its unrelenting efforts to save refugees in distress at sea.”
Only in 2014 and 2015 in Lesvos, Samos and Kos members of HRT participated in more than 1.100 rescue operations saving almost 2.500 people and helping to get safely to shore over 7.000 people. “We wrote a new page in the chapter of mass rescue with unprecedented situations even for us. We had to rescue overnight, 70 people on board a plastic boat without wearing any life jackets”, said Secretary General of HRT, Konstantinos Mitragas, who will receive the award on behalf of the Hellenic Rescue Team.
The NANSEN Refugee Award is offered annually to people or organizations around the world that offer their services for the relief and rehabilitation of refugees and its aim is to attract interest on the refugee issue and to support and promote international assistance and cooperation. As the UNHCR reports, candidates need not be famous, but dedicated and inspired individuals, groups or institutions that support and assist refugees in whatever way they can. Meaning is not so much the size of the aid or the number of refugees affected, but the originality, ingenuity and dedication that the individual, group or institution shows.
The ceremony for the NANSEN Refugee Award will be held on October 3rd, in Geneva. The award includes a commemorative medal and a prize of 150.000 $. Of this amount, 75.000 $ will be offered to HRT and 75.000 $ to Solidarity Lesvos, which will be used in cooperation with UNHCR in refugee aid actions.
An event to honor the winners will be held by the Hellenic office of the UN Refugee Agency this afternoon at the Museum of Cycladic Art in Athens.More information regarding the NANSEN Refugee Award, like individuals, groups or institutions who have previously been awarded can be found in the following links: