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Winner 2015: The White Helmets
The White Helmets, also known as the Syrian Civil Defense, are a group of unarmed and impartial firefighters, medics, and search and rescue workers who volunteer to rush to bombing sites and rescue people from under the rubble. They save people on all sides of the ongoing conflict, pledging commitment to the principles of humanity, solidarity, and impartiality. To date, the White Helmets have saved more than 17,796 lives. The White Helmets have also created a petition demanding that the United Nations Security Council stop barrel bombs, which are often rusty old barrels packed with explosives and shrapnel, by introducing a no-fly zone.
The White Helmets are bakers, tailors, engineers, pharmacists, painters, carpenters, and students. When no one else would, they met a need for search and rescue workers at bombing sites with no obligation to do so. They are also part of The Syria Campaign, which aims to build a global movement of solidarity and action working toward a peaceful and dignified future for all Syrians. The White Helmets play a key role in attracting continued media attention to the situation facing civilians in Syria while focusing on rescuing victims at bombing sites at great personal risk. The group’s fearless commitment to this mission is deserving of international recognition and support.
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