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Caritas Europa's Peter Verhaeghe Awarded by Spanish Migrant Organisation


14 Sep 2011


Social Europe & Jobs

Caritas Europa migration Officer Peter Verhaeghe received last Saturday the ASILA Gold Award for his personal commitment to ensuring European migration policies are addressed and shaped in a way that respects migrants’ rights and their human dignity.

ASILA is a local migrant organisation based in Torrevieja, Spain. It was created in 2003 and was originally mainly dedicated to support the integration of migrants from Latin America in Spain. Since 2007, ASILA has widened its scope of action and offers now its services to all migrants, independently of their country of origin.

The ASILA Gold Award is delivered every year to 3 categories of nominees: an individual, an organisation/institution and an employer. This year, along with Peter Verhaeghe who won the award as an individual, the prize was also delivered to the European Economic and Social Committee for its institutional work in the field of migration and to the local Hospital of Torrevieja for its role as employer which supports the integration of migrants in the labour market.

Peter Verhaeghe highlighted in his speech the need of looking at people as human beings and not as labeled individuals. “Taking a walk in Torrevieja I had this reflection: when I say I'm from Belgium or from Italy, they call me tourist when I say I'm from Turkey or Colombia, they call me immigrant; when I come with money, they call me tourist; when I come with brains and hands to work, they call me migrant; both of them, tourist and migrant, are human beings with their dignity and human rights. Both contribute to the economy. Is there one reason to treat them differently? This is my dream: that everyone is treated equally, and that their rights are respected.”

Peter Verhaeghe acknowledged this prize to be “a recognition for the efforts of all those who work to make that dream come true. My work in Caritas doesn't mean anything without the cooperation with all my colleagues. I am only a small part of that worldwide heart called Caritas and which means love for the others and respect for their human dignity."

Caritas Europa congratulates Mr. Verhaeghe and is proud of working with committed professionals of his caliber. Moreover, Caritas Europa shares Mr. Verhaeghe’s dream, which essentially composes the core message of its vision of “a civilisation of love and justice where every human person can flourish and live in peace and dignity as part of one human family,” as described in the network’s Strategic Framework 2011-2020.

The ceremony included also some traditional Mexican dances performed by the Ballet of the State of Mexico, whose presence was facilitated by the President of ASILA, Ms. Amapola Prado, and some sacred music by the choire "Cantabile singers". 

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