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Angela Merkel awarded the UNESCO Peace Prize.

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Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel was awarded the Felix Houphouet-Boigny Unesco Peace Prize on Wednesday in the Ivorian capital Yamoussoukro, recognizing her role in Germany’s massive 2015 refugee reception.

“The jury sought to highlight the brave choice made in 2015 to accept more than a million refugees (…) at a time when so many people were calling for the closure of Europe. At the time, you represented political courage “At the award ceremony on Wednesday, Unesco Director General Audrey Azoulay made a statement.

“Human rights respect, protection, and sharing are all part of our collective mission. We determined that our immigration policy must adhere to these principles. Only because so many people had rolled up their sleeves and were sitting on the ground “Merkel spoke from the platform of the Félix Houphout-Boigny Foundation, which was established in 1993 in memory of the late first president of the Ivory Coast.

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In 2015 and 2016, at the height of the migrant crisis that was primarily sparked by the war in Syria, Merkel, who presided over Germany for 16 years, had welcomed more than 1.2 million refugees and asylum seekers.

“You made the choice to open Germany’s borders to refugees escaping war zones despite the opposition of the public. You have emphasized to all world leaders their responsibility to act in solidarity with all people, “Alassane Ouattara, president of Ivory Coast, said.

The awarding of this 1989-instituted prize, which has previously recognized Nelson Mandela, Yasser Arafat, Yitzhak Rabin, Lula, and François Hollande, was attended by about 2,000 people.

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Along with the current head of state, former Ivorian presidents Laurent Gbagbo and Henri Konan Bédié, who are currently in the opposition, were also present.

Since last July, they haven’t made a joint appearance in public.

The head of state of Guinea-Bissau, Umaro Sissoco Embalo, the president of Senegal, Macky Sall, the chairman of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, and the current chairman of the Economic Community of West African States were among the ceremony’s honorees.

The jury, presided over by Julienne Lusenge’s fellow Congolese and Nobel Peace Prize winner Denis Mukwege, also gave her an honorary mention for her dedication to women’s rights.

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