We are delighted to announce that MOAS are the winners of the 2016 New European of the Year Award.
The award is made annually to recognize an outstanding contribution by an individual or organization in the service of shared European values and a common European identity.
This year we are making the award for the first time to an organization.
In speaking about MOAS, Roger Casale, Founder and Director of New Europeans said:
"If you want to understand what the good global citizen looks like, then you need look no further than Regina and Chris Catrambone. With their teams at MOAS, they have rescued over over 12,000 migrants from the Mediterranean sea. And they have given the men, women and children they have rescued a voice. That voice is saying 'We do not deserve to die in the sea.' And because we Europeans are global citizens too, we can hear those voices and we can respond to these needs."
Responding on behalf of MOAS, Regina Catrambrone said:
“MOAS has been an emotional journey for all our team. We are very grateful to have received the New European of the Year Award. However, no one citizen or organisation alone can make the changes we need to see in the world. Only together, as Europeans and as a global community, can we overcome the barriers we face and ensure that those who attempt the crossing, do not have to die in such desperation any longer.”
Changing the narrative
Regina and Chris Catrambone have shown us what it means to be responsible global citizens.
We also recognise that MOAS has helped change the narrative around migration.
In October 2014, Britain and a number of other EU member states stopped their rescue missions in the Mediterranean.
Baroness Anelay, Foreign Office Minister said:
"We do not support planned search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean."
MOAS continued their rescue missions when the British decided to let the migrants drown. By doing so, MOAS not only saved lives, they also shamed the international community including Britain back into action.
In the British case, rescue missions were resumed in June 2015. The policy was still to let the migrant vessels sink (so the vessels could ot be reused). However, the migrants would be rescued first as opposed to leeting them drown as a deterrent to others.
"It is for their powerful impact on the policy of European member states such as the United Kingdom, as well as their humanitarian mission that we wish to honour MOAS with our New European of the Year Award." Roger Casale
We cannot all drop what we are doing and go to the Mediterranean to help with the migrant crisis, although one of our members, Maria Teresa Sette has done just that.
What we can do is to identify with the values and with the mission of MOAS. Their achievements are made in our name and in the name of Europe.
"What's wonderful about MOAS is that it is mostly funded by concerned individuals who refuse to sit and watch while their fellow human beings drown. Their donations go directly towards saving the lives of people on their doorstep, mostly families, refugees and people who have risked everything to reach some form of safety. If all of Europe was able to witness first hand the humanitarian disaster that is happening in the Mediterranean, they would instantly realise that what MOAS does is not complicated. Do you let a small child drown in front of you because of politics, religion or race? No. Nobody deserves to die at sea” said founder of MOAS, Christopher Catrambone.
Over the winter months, MOAS is still active in the Aegean with the second of its two rescue boats. The first boat, The Phoenix, has moved to the Andaman Sea where hundreds of Rohingya refugees have died attempting the sea crossing.
MOAS is currently operating off the Greek island of Agathonisi from a 51-metre vessel equipped with two fast rescue launches named after Alan and his brother Galip, who also died in September’s shipwreck.
The New European of the Year Award will be presented to Maria Teresa Sette, Media and Communications officer, MOAS, at the Annual General Meeting of New Europeans, on Thursday, 11 February at Europe House.