Proactiva Open Arms – recipient of the 2017 ALBA/Puffin Award for Human Rights Activism
The Spanish non-governmental organization receives this major human rights award for their migrant rescue operation.
The Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives (ALBA) presents the ALBA/Puffin Award for Human Rights Activism to the Spanish non-governmental organization in support of their ongoing efforts to rescue migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea. This prize is granted annually by ALBA and the Puffin Foundation to honor the nearly 3,000 Americans who volunteered in the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) to fight fascism under the banner of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade.
Originally Proactiva was a maritime service company, specializing in commercial lifeguard and rescue services. In September 2015, after seeing media coverage of drowned children in the Aegean Sea, Proactiva’s director Oscar Camps travelled to the island of Lesbos with one member of the company to see if they could help. As they witnessed refugees landing on the beaches, they decided to stay in Lesbos and rescue people coming ashore.
“The past two years have seen the largest migration crisis since World War II,” says ALBA’s executive director Marina Garde. “The failure of world leaders to address this crisis and the growing intolerance in the United States will only push more refugees to undertake dangerous journeys to find safety. The work of Proactiva Open Arms in protecting refugees and highlighting the injustices they face, has never been more important. ALBA is proud to honor this group.”
- Pre-event benefit from 2:15 pm to 4:15 pm (doors open at 2 pm), featuring a conversation on mass migration and international solidarity with award recipient Oscar Camps and Communications Director at Human Rights Watch Emma Daly
- Annual Celebration, from 4:45 pm to 6:30 pm (doors open at 4:00 pm). Brooklyn-based ensemble Barbez will perform Songs Against Fascism.