Greek islanders to be nominated for Nobel Peace Prize over help for refugees

A petition calling for the islanders to be nominated has been signed by almost 300,000 people around the world

Greek islanders who have been on the frontline of the refugee crisis are to be nominated for the Nobel peace prize. 

The islanders, many of whom gave up their jobs to rescue incoming refugees from the sea, are to be honoured for their “self-sacrifice and empathy,” according to the Guardian.

The Greek government has pledged its full support for the islanders and academics from Harvard, Oxford, Princeton, Copenhagen and Cornell are reportedly drafting a submission in favour of awarding the volunteers the prize.

A petition calling for the islanders to be nominated has received almost 300,000 signatures from around the world. 

The petition reads: “Ordinary residents of Greek islands and other volunteers have been on the front lines of Europe’s refugee crisis for months, opening up their hearts and homes to save hundreds of thousands fleeing war and terror."

It argues for the islanders to be nominated “for their compassion and courage, for treating those in danger with humanity, and for setting an example for the rest of the world to follow.”

The prize can only be won by organisations or individuals, so the solidarity networks, which consist of groups of volunteers organised to help refugees, are likely to be the official nominees.

Spyro Limneos, an activist in Greece for Avaaz who distributed aid on the islands, told The Guardian: “I will never forget seeing young girls being rescued from a boat on Leros.

"They were smiling. They didn’t have suitcases or any possessions except their end-of-year school certificates written in Arabic. They laid those down in the sun to dry out. It was a combination of tragedy and hope."

The networks have helped refugees by giving them dry clothes, food, hygiene packs and accommodation and have also advised on the possible next steps for migrants.