Navarra Solidarity Award for the Aita Mari Association

Pamplona (EFE).- The Marine Rescue Association “Aita Mari” received the Navarre International Solidarity Prize 2022. Her “brave work” in helping migrants and refugees on transit routes to Europe fleeing war and famine, ensuring their basic rights and giving them the opportunity for a decent life, has earned them their recognition.

An award ceremony was held at the Navarre Palace, at which the association warned of the tightening of migration processes. He also warned of “racist and xenophobic sentiment that feeds on the opportunistic speeches of far-right movements” and recalled that “hundreds of people are still at sea trying to survive.”

Twenty-nine nominations and special mention to Medicus Mundi

The President of Navarre and the President of Laboral Kutxa (d) presented the Navarre Prize for Solidarity to the President of the Maritime Rescue Association, Iñigo Mihangos (2i) and Iñaki Goni (2d). EFE/Jesus Diges

Twenty-nine nominations and special mention to Medicus Mundi

In its nineteenth edition, the award presented 29 nominations, which received a special mention for Medicus Mundi Navarra on its 50th anniversary and for two of its members, now deceased, Miguel Angel Argal and Javier Pagol.

In the Throne Room of the Palacio de Navarra, a ceremony was held in which the President of Navarra, Maria Civite, and the President of Laboral Kutxa, co-organizer, Chomin Garcia, presented the award to the President of the Maritime Rescue Association, Iñigo. Mihangos and Iñaki Goni, member of the Navarra collective.

witnesses of injustice

“A very great honor” they received this recognition for the work, which, according to Mikhangos, began during a time of upheaval, when he saw refugee caravans fleeing Syria and boats on Greek beaches. They have been developing their activities since the end of 2015.

During this time, they witnessed situations of “injustice” that fueled their belief that the path they were on was the “right” path, they claimed, to which they added, that their sense of solidarity was born out of a thirst for justice. and the firmness of his convictions.

Recognizing Navarre as a kind, hospitable people with deep-seated traditions that are fiercely defended because they consider them fair and reasonable, he pointed out that this makes them think that the award is a response not only to their solidarity with the vulnerable, but also to the defense of the ideology of universal justice. . A justice that “opposes racist and xenophobic sentiment that feeds on the opportunistic rhetoric of far-right movements.”

Attention to populist discourses

He warned of a “threat” from the Italian government with “populist” protests against migrants, which leads to a tightening of migration processes.

Expressing his gratitude to Armonia Txantreana for presenting his candidacy and to the organizations that supported it, he concluded by noting that now “the time has come to live up to this recognition”. They will return to sea in January to continue their work.

For his part, Goni acknowledged that this is a happy day for recognizing the work that will be done in three areas: rescue in the Mediterranean, care in camps on the Greek islands, and awareness-raising work.

At the same time, however, he expressed “a feeling of sadness” that hundreds of people are at sea trying to survive in a hostile environment, and many of them are not going to do it, and in the meantime, rescue ships are delayed.

In his case, they were forced to postpone their departure, he commented in conclusion, reminding all the people who risk their lives, those who live in appalling conditions in the refugee camps, and the children who “sleep on the streets of our own city,” he warned .

Over 1500 rescues

His work was praised both by the Minister of Social Rights, Carmen Maeztu, who detailed the jury’s decision, and by the President of Navarre. Civite emphasized that they had saved about 1,500 people and more than 20,000 people received their help.

He also emphasized that “we must never lose this ethical dimension of why we save lives, because every life is worth something; neither the color of the skin, nor the origin, nor the economic situation suggest that life is worth more or less.

Civite called for unity in the face of xenophobic discourse and indicated that “we have an obligation to save lives, prevent and alleviate human suffering, meet the basic needs of the population in terms of reducing vulnerability and building capacity.” this happens, in his words, for “timely response to humanitarian needs.”

Following the legacy of Aita Mari

For his part, the chairman of Laboral Kutxa emphasized that “the migration crisis is nothing but the result of wars, famines and conflicts, which are causing thousands of people to leave their countries of origin.” He added that “until the migration crisis is resolved, humanitarian aid ships like the Ata Mari are the only hope for thousands of people who go to sea confident that they will survive the journey and be able to start a new life. “.

Recalling who “Aita Mari” was, he assured that “Jose María Zubia would be very proud that others would continue his maritime relief work” more than 150 years later. EFE

By Peter Kavinsky

Peter Kavinsky is the Executive Editor at