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Blue Planet Award 2010: Former minister Wieczorek-Zeul to give laudation for refugee- and human rights activist Elias Bierdel

10-22-2010 07:27 AM CET | Politics, Law & Society

Press release from: ethecon - Foundation Ethics & Economics

Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul

Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul

In the course of the ethecon annual conference on November 20 in Berlin, the “International ethecon Blue Planet Award 2010” will be presented to the refugee- and human rights activist Elias Bierdel/Austria. The laudatory address will be given by Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, member of the federal parliament (Bundestag) and former federal minister.

Elias Bierdel has become well-known as the director and chairperson of the relief organisation „Komitee Cap Anamur/Deutsche Notärzte“ (Cap Anamur/German Emergency Doctors). As such he was involved in 2004 in the rescue of 37 African refugees who had come into sea distress during their crossing to Europe. For three weeks their entry into a near-by Italian harbor was prohibited. Subsequently Bierdel as well as the captain and the first officer were arrested under the charge of smuggling immigrants. They faced imprisonment for several years and high fines. The bail for Bierdel's release for the course of the five-year trial was set at two million Euros. His acquittal was granted in Oktober 2009.

As federal minister for economic cooperation and development, Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul was one of the few officials who supported Bierdel from the beginning and who immediately called for his release after his arrest. The minister said at that time „Bierdel must not be punished for helping people in danger“. She stated further: „The misery of the refugees shows us how directly humanitarian catastrophies can strike us. Afrika is our neighbor-continent. Because of this, we Europeans have a particular responsibility towards the people who live there.“

The public ceremony bestowing the „Blue Planet Award 2010“ on Elias Bierdel takes place on

Saturday, November 20, 2:00 p.m.
Pfefferwerk „Großer Saal“
Schönhauser Allee 176, 10199 Berlin

During this ceremony BP's outgoing CEO Tony Hayward, designated CEO Bob Dudley, the executive management and the major shareholders will be castigated with the “International ethecon Black Planet Award 2010“. In April of this year in an attempt to increase profits, the multi-million BP company introduced unnecessary cost cuts effecting safety measures. These cuts lead to one of the worst environmental catastrophies of all times and caused the death of 11 workers.With the resulting oilslick BP literally brought on a „black planet“. The speech exposing and criticizing BP will be held by Dr. Winfried Wolf, former member of the federal parliament and the current editor-in-chief of the quarterly Lunapark21.

The conference is free of charge, but registration is required. Participants may register through the

ethecon conference office
Schweidnitzer Str. 41
40231 Düsseldorf
Phone: +49 (0)211 - 26 11 210
Fax: +49 (0)211 - 26 11 220

Since 2006 „ethecon - Foundation Ethics and Economy“ confers these two international awards annually. A positive prize, the „Blue Planet Award“, honors outstanding efforts to maintain and save the „Blue Planet“. Its negative counterpart, the „Black Planet Award“, exposes and condemns actions responsible for the ruin and destruction of the „Blue Planet“.

In contrast to many corporate, family, church, political and state foundations, ethecon is one of the few foundations empowered by ordinary citizens and which sees its mission in its responsibility toward coming generations. This young foundation is financed through endowment contributions, donations and sustaining memberships. Only with the development and implementation of environmentally compliant and humane models of economy and society can looming ecological and social disasters be averted. ethecon - Foundation Ethics & Economics works with a vision and perspective far beyond the next generation.
The foundation is charitable and non-profit. All donations are tax-deductible.

ethecon - Foundation Ethics & Economics
Wilhelmshavener Str. 60
D-10551 Berlin
Phone: +49 - (0)30 - 22 32 51 45

Press contact:
Bettina Schneider
Phone: +49 - (0)211 - 22 95 09 21

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