The Syria Civil Defense "White Helmets" won the RIGala2017 Award "A Bright Light for Humanity in the Darkest Places of the World" at a ceremony marking the 38th anniversary of the launch of Refugees International in Washington, DC, 25 April 2017.
The award was presented to the Deputy Chief of the Syria Civil Defense Mounir Mustafa, by the queen Noor Al-Hussein who said during the ceremony that the award is an appreciation for the remarks courage of the volunteers and their commitment to help civilians living in the "most violent conflict" in the world.
During his speech, Mounir Mustafa expressed his thanks and gratitude to the organization sponsoring the ceremony. "It is a great honor for us. We share the same human values. We believe that this is our duty and that saving people is thousands of times more important than fighting them."
"I give this award to thousands of volunteers in the civil defense and to every humanitarian worker in the world who share our commitment to save innocent people," he said.
"Our slogan is derived from the Holy Quran (Whoever saves one life saves all humanity).
Since the establishment of the civil defense system, the volunteer teams have managed to save more than 90,000 people in the targeted sites, but we have lost 176 volunteer martyrs while they were doing their humanitarian duty to protect and save civilians."
He also stressed the need to put pressure in order to cease all bombing campaigns targeting civilians, viewing the incident targeting the city of Khan Sheikun in the countryside of Idlib with Sarin gas, which killed about 100 people and hundreds of others were severely suffocated.
"The Syrian regime's use of chemical weapons is a horrific war crime, and it is not the only one that is being committed in Syria today," he said, adding "the most of the suffering we face comes from so-called "conventional weapons" such as explosive barrels, missiles and cluster bombs. And the only way to stop these Attacks is to arrest the responsible for it"
At the end, Mustafa called on all countries of the world to help stop the bloodshed, massacres, ethnic cleansing and forced displacement in Syria. "We do not want to continue to do this, the White Helmets want the need of saving civilians to disappear. and to start rebuilding their beloved country, Syria."