Annually, Siero City Council, Asturias, awards this human rights prize to the association that, in its opinion, has worked most throughout the year in the defense of Human Rights in the world. A jury composed of representatives of political groups and two members of the Local Solidarity Council has awarded this year’s prize to the Freedom Flotilla whose candidacy was proposed by the Committee of Solidarity with the Arab Cause.
December 10th, the International Human Rights Day, has been chosen for the presentation. Jeannette Escanilla, from Ship to Gaza Sweden, Ismail Yilma from the Turkish organization Mavi Marmara and Lucía Mazarrasa from Rumbo a Gaza travelled to Asturias on behalf of the Freedom Flotilla and to collect the award.
This intense day started early in the morning with a visit to the Rio Nora Secondary School in Pola de Siero, where the representatives of the Flotilla were able to chat with the students, letting them know about the situation in Gaza and Palestine in general, and the activity of the Freedom Flotilla sailing towards Gaza to peacefully break the illegal blockade of the Strip. The talk was accompanied by the screening of two videos.
After this encounter, with friends of the Committee of Solidarity with the Arab Cause and Rumbo a Gaza, the Flotilla attended an official reception at the City of Pola de Siero, which was followed by a meal with various representatives of the Municipal Corporation.
In the afternoon, the delegation composed of a representation of the Municipal Corporation and the Freedom Flotilla went from the Town Hall to the Auditorium, where the official award ceremony was held. The band Ventolin and a group of traditional tambourine players (Pandereteras) accompanied the march.
During the award ceremony, activist Ismail Yilmaz, member of the first Freedom Flotilla aboard the Mavi Marmara, recalled that “in 2010 we experienced an attack on the conscience of the world, an inhuman action, but we are happy to know that there are still people who have a conscience and fight against injustice.”
Jeannette Escanilla stated that “the City of Siero should be proud to defend the human rights of the Palestinian people in Gaza,” adding that “it is setting an example to the whole world that the Palestinian rights must also be respected”, “… it is a call to all peoples to help the people of Palestine and make them feel that they are not alone. ” She also criticized the European Union for not reacting to the Zionist state that is systematically using horror and terror against the Palestinian population.
After the awards ceremony, the attendees enjoyed the performance of the Pola de Siero Orchestra.
The Freedom Flotilla-Rumbo a Gaza wish to show our deepest gratitude for this award, which represents a recognition of the rights of the Palestinian people and their resistance, especially in this year that marks the 70th anniversary of the Nakba. 70 years since the start of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and the refugee population, whose right of return is recognized by the United Nations. This year, in which the blockaded and hopeless population of Gaza has thrown itself into the Marches of Return precisely to demand compliance with international law and that the more than five million Palestinian refugees be allowed to return to their homes and lands from which they were expelled in 1948.
The Freedom Flotilla has sailed this year 2018 in support of these rights, to demand the lifting of the blockade of the Gaza Strip and the end of the occupation of Palestine, and will continue to sail until the rights of the Palestinian population are recognized.