A person is being pulled from a boat in distress by the rescue team on a fast boat.
Stefano Belacchi / SOS MEDITERRANEE

SOS MEDITERRANEE wins the 2023 Right Livelihood Award


As the humanitarian crisis intensifies in the Mediterranean, humanitarian and maritime organisation SOS MEDITERRANEE receives 2023 Right Livelihood Award, sometimes titled as the “alternative Nobel Prize”.

2023 has seen the highest number of deaths in the Mediterranean since 2017 – a dramatic record during an ongoing humanitarian crisis. This crisis was recognized and highlighted today by the presentation of the Right Livelihood Award to SOS MEDITERRANEE for saving the lives of more than 38,500 people in the central Mediterranean.

“More than 2,000 deaths have been recorded in 2023 in the Central Mediterranean already,” says Caroline Abu Sa’da, Executive Director of SOS MEDITERRANEE Switzerland. “For us, it is therefore extremely important that the Right Livelihood Award highlights the situation of these people who are risking their lives trying to cross the Mediterranean.”

SOS MEDITERRANEE is honored to be among the laureates of the Right Livelihood Award 2023, a prize that for more than 40 years has honored and supported individuals and organizations working tirelessly to solve the world’s most pressing problems. SOS MEDITERRANEE joins a prestigious list of laureates that includes Ukrainian human rights defender Oleksandra Matviichuk and Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege.

The Right Livelihood Award brings much needed attention to the dramatic situation at sea, as well as to the growing constraints that make the work of humanitarian rescue NGOs more and more difficult, such as the considerable increase in the price of fuel or the allocation of far ports of disembarkation after rescues.

SOS MEDITERRANEE would like to thank all volunteers, donors, partners and supporters who make our mission possible and to dedicate this recognition to those who are forced to risk their lives to seek safety. “This award is the fruit of a collective effort and the commitment of many people dedicated to rescue at sea,” concludes Caroline Abu Sa’Da.

Photo: Stefano Belacchi / SOS MEDITERRANEE