Amnesty human rights prize awarded

The crew of German migrant rescue boat Iuventa received the Amnesty Human Rights Award 2020 for rescuing over 14,000 people at sea.

Amnesty human rights prize awarded

Berlin (dpa) - The crew of the Iuventa migrant rescue ship has been awarded Amnesty International's human rights prize for 2020, the German branch of the rights group announced on Tuesday.

Amnesty lauded the around 200 crew members for rescuing over 14,000 people at sea between July 2016 and August 2017, adding that the volunteers have faced legal action in Italy for their humanitarian work.

"The Iuventa crew stands for all the volunteers who work on water and on land to help people seeking protection to survive. Amnesty International therefore honours them with the Amnesty Human Rights Award 2020 on behalf of all these human rights defenders," said Markus N Beeko, secretary general for Amnesty International Germany.

The Iuventa vessel belongs to the German non-governmental organization Jugend Rettet (Youth Saves), which works to protect migrants embarking on the Mediterranean sea route to Europe.

Jugend Rettet's boat was impounded by prosecutors in Sicily in 2017, under the accusation that the NGO agreed migrant rescue pick-ups with Libyan traffickers.

Amnesty says the charges are false. Members of the Iuventa crew have had their phones tapped and been followed by undercover investigators, the organization said. Ten are being investigated by Italian prosecutors.

"The award shows that we are not alone in this fight," the Iuventa captain, identified as Dariush, was quoted in the Amnesty statement as saying.