Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel will receive a prestigious award by the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) for hosting and protecting asylum seekers amid the Syrian conflict, the agency said on Tuesday.
"UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, announced today that Dr. Angela Merkel, the former Federal Chancellor of Germany, will receive the 2022 UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award," the agency said in a statement.
Under Merkel’s leadership, Germany hosted more than 1.2 million refugees and asylum seekers in 2015-2016 at the height of the conflict in Syria and amid violence in other places, according to the statement.
"It was true leadership, appealing to our common humanity, standing firm against those who preached fear and discrimination. She [Merkel] showed what can be achieved when politicians take the right course of action and work to find solutions to the world’s challenges rather than simply shift responsibility to others," UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said.
The UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award is a special prize that recognizes extraordinary humanitarian work aiding refugees, internally displaced or stateless people. The awards ceremony will take place in Geneva on October 10.
During her tenure, Merkel was repeatedly criticized by many German politicians for allowing large numbers of migrants into the country. In 2018, the issue even resulted in a major political crisis, as her coalition partners insisted on stricter migration policies.
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