The Spanish football manager and former Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola read the eulogy in honor of a German rescue ship captain for her work helping refugees in the Mediterranean.
Carola Rackete accepted a medal at the award ceremony Tuesday. "There is one thing I want to say clearly: Medals and words are not enough," she said, and pleaded instead for "concrete actions and solidarity."
Guardiola, who manages Manchester City football team, commended her actions, saying: "A world which does not save is a world which is sinking, and our society will drown."
The 31-year-old captain was arrested in June after she sailed with 40 migrants aboard her ship Sea-Watch 3 to the Italian island of Lumpedusa. This went against the orders of then-Interior Minister Matteo Salvini.
Rackete took the step because of what she described as desperate conditions on board for the migrants. Salvini was subsequently investigated for libelling Rackete.
In a tweet, Rackete dedicated the award "is really aimed at all of the Sea Watch crew."
Rackete was released after two days but the investigation into her is ongoing. She said that she is not worried about the outcome as she knows that her actions were correct.
The founder of the Spanish aid organization Proactiva Open Arms, Oscar Camps, was also honoured with a medal at the ceremony by Catalonia's regional parliament to mark their national day.
ed/rt (AFP, Reuters)
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