Game of Thrones actor Liam Cunningham has received the first ever ICCL Lifetime Contribution to Human Rights Award.
The award was presented as part of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties’ Human Rights Film Awards, in conjunction with the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival.
The new award is intended to honour a person in the film industry who has used their platform to passionately advocate for a better world.
It was presented to Liam Cunningham by Syrian refugee Husam Alhraki, in acknowledgement of the actor’s particular interest and campaigning work on the rights of migrants and refugees. Cunningham met Husam when he was visiting refugees in Jordan with child-focused overseas aid agency, World Vision.
On receiving the award, Cunningham said:
“It’s an honour for me to receive this award from the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, who have been working to make Ireland a freer and better country for almost half a century.
And it comes at a really important moment, when Europe is literally allowing refugees to die on our borders. We need to stand up against this, to assert that the Europe and the Ireland we want to live in are places that offer refuge to people who need our help.”
Director of ICCL, Liam Herrick, said
“We presented this award to Liam because of his passionate and outspoken advocacy for migrants and refugees, as well as his fearlessness in pointing out injustice and naming the systems that are to blame for it. In these turbulent times, we need people like Liam who are unafraid to use their platform to help protect our human rights and fragile freedoms.”
Marcus Frost, Partnership Leader for Global Marketing and Communications at World Vision International said:
“Liam’s work with World Vision has impacted the lives of millions of refugees and internally displaced children in numerous countries around the world. For example, South Sudanese children who have been forced for their homes because of war are now being supported to get an education across 15 schools in Juba because of funds raised by Liam’s work. He has helped to change so many lives.”
The ICCL Lifetime Contribution Award was presented alongside the 9th ICCL Human Rights Film Award. This was presented to Irish film, Herself, with a special commendation going to Street Leagues, another Irish film. Both films deal with the issue of homelessness. The award was presented by lifelong human rights campaigner Ailbhe Smyth.
Liam Cunningham’s humanitarian work has included fundraising and advocacy work for migrants and refugees in South Sudan, Syria and Greece. While in Greece, he called on EU leaders to do much more for the people who are stranded there. He is currently an ambassador for World Vision.