Nobel laureate Denis Mukwege, chairman of the jury awarding the prize, praised Merkel for opening the gates of Germany “while many other countries were overcome with fear”.
“You have shown public opinion and decision-makers that we must defend not only our own rights, but also those of others in times of crisis, that every society more than ever must respect and protect human rights without discrimination of any kind,” he said. he. said.
“We commend your humanity, your spirit of solidarity and your keen sense of ethics and your inspiring leadership,” he added.
In accepting the award, Merkel spoke about the current refugee crises, in particular the war in Ukraine.
“We thought the time of war in Europe was over,” Merkel said. “But since February 24 last year, when Russia’s brutal aggression against Ukraine took place, we have come to the sad conclusion that that is not the case. This has shaken Europe to its foundations.”
The 68-year-old centre-right politician, who led Germany for 16 years, has kept a relatively low profile since handing over to successor Olaf Scholz in December 2021.
Among a few other appearances, the one-time physicist picked up an award from the UN Refugee Agency and gave a speech honoring the former head of a national science academy in which she mentioned gut flora and antibiotic resistance. Her political memoirs will be published in 2024.
The Félix Houphouët-Boigny Peace Prize awarded to Merkel on Wednesday is named after the first president of Ivory Coast after independence from France in 1960. The award was presented to Merkel in Yamoussoukro, the capital of Ivory Coast and the birthplace of the late Houphouët-Boigny .
Larson reported from Dakar, Senegal.