Europe must not outsource sea rescue to Libya

The report "Places of Safety in the Mediterranean: The EU's Policy of Outsourcing Responsibility" of the Heinrich Böll Foundation points out that the North African Mediterranean states cannot be regarded as "safe havens" and that the EU cannot therefore outsource sea rescue to these states. This is particularly true for the civil war country Libya.

Since 2014, over 20,000 people have drowned in the Mediterranean. Mediterranean Sea have drowned. The member states of the EU fail to agree on a joint on a joint programme for sea rescue and accept the death of these people of these people so that as few of them as possible reach Europe. They cooperate with criminal militias in Libya and deliberately accept the violation violations of fundamental rights. Some politicians even propose to send the refugees directly to North Africa, including the Libyan war zone, to the Libyan war zone.

Against this background, this study has important policy implications, noting that the EU and its member states cannot shirk their responsibility to save people in the Mediterranean.

Italy and Malta may not close ports

The policy of EU states such as Italy and Malta to close their ports and denying NGO ships access to their ports is costing people their lives. people's lives and is just as illegal as shifting the rescue to Libya.

The member states and the EU must rescue fugitives and migrants* and bring them to European ports, not only for moral reasons but also for legal ones. Your ports must remain open to rescue ships.

Deadliest route in the world

The route from Libya to Europe is the world's deadliest migration route in the world. The main reason for this is that the EU has stopped its has suspended its rescue activities in the Mediterranean. The naval operation Sophia, which saved the lives of more than 40,000 migrants and refugees. the operation. There is currently not a single state rescue ship in the Mediterranean Sea.

Civil organizations that try to close this gap are often obstructed are often obstructed, prosecuted or have their vessels confiscated. are confiscated. By suspending all sea rescue operations and also actively preventing NGOs from saving lives, it is partly responsible for the deaths of thousands of people in the Mediterranean.

This study makes it clear that the EU and its member states cannot evade this responsibility by outsourcing sea rescue to Libya or other North African Mediterranean countries.

Libya and other states in North Africa are not safe havens

Libya is one of the most unsafe and dangerous places for refugees in the world. People intercepted by the Libyan coast guard are taken to camps where they are subjected to inhumane conditions.., rape, exploitation and even arbitrary killings.

The current European policy of supporting this Libyan coastguard and making it the doorman of Europe is deeply inhumane and violates international law, and the EU and its member states have a duty to take people to a safe place where their lives and safety are not threatened and where they are safe from persecution. 

The study shows that these safe havens exist only in Europe, which means that seven concrete political demands:

1. we need a European sea rescue mission!

The Member States must be proactive in carrying out rescue operations at sea by making ships and resources available, and the European Commission must coordinate them and provide financial support to Member States to improve their ability to save lives at sea. 

2. EU cooperation with the Libyan Coast Guard must be ended

Europe must not evade its obligations in sea rescue by shifting responsibility to a country that can under no circumstances be considered a safe place. The EU must stop cooperating with Libya. Instead of funding the Libyan coast guard, which is also an association of warlords, the EU should invest in its own sea rescue capabilities.

3. people rescued from distress at sea in the Mediterranean must be brought to Europe

the study shows that none of the north african Mediterranean states can generally be classified as a safe haven. for vulnerable groups such as LGBTI or other minorities, these states are not safe. since it is not feasible to determine which territories would be safe for people and which would not, on board the rescue ships, Europe cannot shirk its responsibility and must bring people to safe havens in Europe. this also applies to NGO ships. cooperation with the libyan coast guard is a violation of international law.

4. the criminalisation and intimidation of NGOs must stop

Ship captains* and crew members must not be prosecuted for rescuing people in distress at sea. These people are life-savers*, not criminals. The European Commission must decide that humanitarian aid must not be criminalised by the Member States.

5. the EU must work closely with NGOs

Civil organisations cannot exempt member states from their obligation to rescue people in distress themselves, but they can help save lives. The EU should support NGOs in the rescue effort by opening its ports to them, simplifying the registration of ships for sea rescue and informing them about emergencies.

6. Europe needs a reliable redistribution mechanism

The EU Commission must develop a solidarity-based and humanitarian alternative to the Dublin system, in which the rights and wishes of the refugees are respected. A high level of solidarity and readiness to receive refugees must also be promoted financially. In this context, the readiness of local and regional authorities and regions should be taken into account and supported with EU funds.

7. the EU must stop misusing development funds for migration prevention 

The EU is supporting the Libyan coastguard through the EU Trust Fund for Africa. This is a misuse of funds that are supposed to be used for development cooperation. The aim of development cooperation is to fight poverty, not migration. In general be made much more transparent about how EU money is used in third countries. are used.

We can't leave anyone behind!

We now need a substantial evacuation of the camps in the Greek islands so that the refugees can protect themselves from the corona virus.

When i arrived in lesbos at the end of february, i did not think that the situation could get much worse. i wanted to spend the week off from sitting here to see how the situation on moria has developed. a camp in europe, where the processing of an application can take over a year and children cannot attend school during that time. a camp where people have been sleeping on the damp ground or in summer tents for four winters.

That people in the EU have to live like this is a disgrace for all of us. the situation here is not so bad because the EU could not organise it better. it is so bad because it is politically desired. it is politically desired that conditions should be so bad because people want to deter. but the aim cannot be that conditions in the camps on the external borders should be worse than in a civil war, just so that no one would think of fleeing to Europe.  

Erdoğans Border opening and right-wing extremists on Lesbos

Unfortunately, I was wrong in assuming that things could hardly get any worse. After Erdoğan announced the opening of the border and suddenly there were a few thousand people on the external border, Greece reacted with violence and simply suspended the basic right to asylum. I have a commissioned a legal opinion which shows that the Greek government has acted unlawfully. The Greek coast guard started shooting towards rubber dinghies full of people instead of rescuing them. Boats were left in distress for hours instead of intervening immediately. A girl drowned trying to get to Lesbos although she could have been rescued.

Right-wing extremists from all over Europe mobilized the mob to Lesbos. on some days more Nazis than refugees arrived on Lesbos. right-wing gangs took over the streets and patrolled the city with iron chains. right-wing extremists could hunt down aid organizations, fugitives and journalists for days on end without the police intervening. one aid facility was even set on fire. the Greek constitutional state simply failed completely there.

The Corona virus is a danger to the people in the Greek camps

And then it got worse again. the corona virus is spreading very fast in europe. the virus does not differentiate by skin colour, religion or gender. while contact bans and curfews are imposed everywhere in europe, here 20,000 people live crammed together in a camp that was built for 3,000 people. for every 1,300 people there is a single tap and even that one is constantly breaking down. you can hardly wash your hands here, let alone practice social distancing. when the corona virus comes to moria, it will not be stopped so quickly.

The member states have ways of preventing the Corona disaster in overcrowded refugee camps. Surely it is in our interest not to allow places in Europe where the virus can spread unhindered. The camps must be evacuated quickly not in spite of Corona but because of it.


People must now be given quarantine facilities in places where they are protected from the virus. The Commission must coordinate the process, but Member States must go ahead and support Greece in the fight against the spread of the Corona virus. This also requires financial aid, but above all it requires the political will to solve problems instead of always telling us what we cannot do.The Greek mainland needs support in this, as do the people on the Greek islands. For far too long, we have abandoned these citizens.

In order to create more attention for the topic, I have created the campaign "Leave no one behind" It is an initiative which is about citizens from all over Europe standing together in the Corona crisis and standing up for those who need our solidarity. This includes the refugees at our external borders, the homeless, the old and sick. If we do not act now, we will be complicit in the catastrophe which threatens these people.

Expert opinion: Dealing with refugees at the Greek-Turkish border is illegal

I have an expert opinion entitled No State of Exception at the EU External Borders in the first place.

It states that EU states may not suspend the right of asylum or refuse to accept asylum applications. Greece has acted illegally by suspending the right of asylum for one month. Pushbacks or deportations without an individual procedure violate EU and international law. Pushbacks or deportations without an individual procedure cannot be justified under EU law or European human rights law. Dealing with people on the Turkish-Greek EU external border violates the fundamental values of the Union such as the rule of law and respect for human rights.

You can find the full report under this Link

Expert opinion proves: Federal states may take in refugees on their own!

I've commissioned an expert opinion that, under the title: „Reception of refugees from the camps on the Greek islands by the German Bundesländer-Legal conditions and borders“ has been published. It states that the federal government may not refuse to accept some refugee children by the federal states. So the government is unlawfully rejecting existing offers. This does not mean that the federal states or municipalities are now responsible here. Above all, the Federal Government and other EU states must now act quickly with the EU Commission! The expert opinion has been planned for a long time and is now ready.

You can find the report under this Link.

My current assessment of the situation in Greece

Instead of talking about racist marauding gangs at the external borders, the Greek coast guard refuses to rescue people, attacks rubber dinghies and puts people's lives in danger. Anyone who shares the military rhetoric of "European shield" or an "attack on the EU" or supports the Greek demand for "maximum deterrence" agrees with the right-wing mob and racist violence. Because anyone who says: "We are under attack, violence at the borders is necessary" also says: "Strike, it's only self-defence". The European Commission, the German government and 26 other EU states capitulate to an autocrat with border guard perseverance slogans.

The inhumane policy of the last few days is a gift for Erdoğan. The last few days have shown that only a few thousand fugitives have to stand at the external borders and already fundamental rights and basic human rights are being abrogated. Greece denies people the right to apply for asylum and so far Ursula von der Leyen and most European governments seem to simply tolerate this.

The responsible politicians are overwhelmed by the situation and seriously expect Turkey to take in another million people from Idlib, while at the EU's external border children are being shot at with tear gas so that nobody can claim their right to asylum in the European Union.

There is an alternative to the current chaos and the breach of our European values. We must immediately organise humanitarian aid at the external borders. We must set contingents, evacuate people from the Greek islands in an orderly fashion and then check in various states who is in need of protection and who is not. Only through humanity and order can we find an answer worthy of Europe.

To respond to those seeking protection with violence and military rhetoric is absolutely unworthy of Europe.

For questions and further information please contact our press officer Krsto Lazarević at your disposal.

Humanitarian crisis in Greece: Germany & Europe must offer refugees protection

Click here for the Petition!

A humanitarian disaster is unfolding on the Turkish-Greek border: after the Turkish president Erdoğan opened the border with Greece, thousands of refugees have set out to apply for asylum in the EU. In Greece, the police use violence to prevent people from entering the country. 

the greek government declares deterrence in defence of the eu's external border. at the same time, greece has announced that it will suspend the right of asylum. for months, more than 40,000 people have been waiting in completely overcrowded camps on the greek islands. this situation on the islands is no longer tenable. journalists and aid organisations are being threatened by right-wing groups and the authorities are not protecting them. only a quick response from eu states can prevent further escalation. the federal government must also act quickly. 

What should have happened a long time ago is now all the more necessary: the European Union has a duty to support Greece in dealing with the situation by all means possible. Humanity and order must now be the guiding principles of the EU. This is a European emergency, not a Greek one. If we leave Greece alone now, we will contribute to further suffering, insecurity and instability. 

We therefore call for four immediate measures:

  1. The Federal Government should take in a quota of refugees from Greece and the Aegean islands. If Germany leads the way in Europe, other EU countries will follow more easily, and the goal must continue to be a fair and rapid redistribution of refugees within the EU. 
  2. The Federal Office for Refugees (BAMF) and the Federal Government may no longer block the family reunification of persons seeking protection in Greece with their relatives in Germany. Many refugees in Greece - including many unaccompanied children - have a legal claim to family reunification under the Dublin Regulation. The Federal Republic of Germany is responsible for their asylum procedure and they have to be transferred to their relatives in Germany. 
  3. The right to asylum is a human right: people seeking protection within the EU cannot be deported without an individual examination of their asylum application. The German government and the other EU countries must support Greece in such a way that refugees are registered at the EU's external border and then given access to a fair asylum procedure. Only fair asylum procedures can determine who is in need of protection and who is not. 
  4. Police violence against refugees must stop. tear gas and water cannons only aggravate hardship and do not solve anything. this is not how europe should deal with people seeking protection. journalists, lawyers and NGOs must be protected and must be able to do their important work unhindered. the federal government must work together with the eu to ensure that fundamental rights are respected at all levels. local authorities must enforce law and order instead of tolerating the violent mobs on the greek islands. 

The Turkish President Erdoğan is using the suffering of refugees to exert pressure on the EU. A common European response to this is needed. It is important that we provide humanitarian aid and defend the rule of law in Europe. To this end, let us address this urgent petition with as many signatures as possible to the Federal Government and the European Council: Germany must offer refugees protection!

With European greetings

Erik Marquardt MEP , Sven Giegold MEP, Clara Anne Bünger and Ansgar Gilster

Click here for the Petition

Request: Attack on rescue ship Alan Kurdi by Libyan militias

In order to be able to exercise my parliamentary control function as a Member of the European Parliament, I have the opportunity to put questions to the European Commission. The Commission must answer these questions.
On 02/28/2020, I received answers from the Commission to the following questions:

Question for written answer E-003535/2019 to the Commission

Subject: Attack by Libyan militias on the rescue ship Alan Kurdi

Men fired warning shots and threatened with their guns on board, endangering not only the crew of the Alan Kurdi, but also some 90 people in distress at sea. The Libyan ships had no boat identification.
There is also information that Abd Al-Rahman Al-Milad, known as Al Bija, who is on an EU sanctions list for involvement in human smuggling, has again taken over as head of the Zawiya coast guard.

1. can it be ruled out that the militias involved in the attack or the regional unit of the Libyan coast guard in Zawiya are being financed or trained by the EU, or is it at all comprehensible which funds flow to which coast guard?

2. what information does the Commission have about the militias involved in the attack and what steps have been taken, for example, to press another Libyan coast guard to investigate the case?

3. according to a new decree issued by the government in tripoli, NGO vessels operating in libyan waters will in future be required to obtain a licence from the libyan authorities; how will the Commission help to ensure that the libyan authorities bring this decree into line with international law and do not apply it in international waters, for example in their sea rescue zone?

Answer from Ms Johansson
on behalf of the European Commission:

The Commission has always considered it a priority to support the capacity of partner countries to improve search and rescue services for sea rescue, and appropriate management of migration requires a balanced approach ranging from ensuring protection for people in need to strengthening border management.

The main recipient of EU funds from the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, the General Coastal Defence Administration under the Ministry of Interior of Libya, has so far received a series of basic training courses for nearly 100 staff. 477 Libyan Coast Guard and Ministry of Defence naval officers under the Ministry of Defence have received training on human rights and international law, among other things, in Operation Sophia. This training has been carried out following a review process which ensures that the officers concerned are not on the UN sanctions list. The head of the Coast Guard, Abd Al-Rahman al-Milad, on the UN sanctions list is under investigation. The Libyan Coast Guard has informed the Commission that he has been suspended from the operational service.

Libya has ratified the Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue Services and in December 2017 announced the Libyan Search and Rescue Zone, clearly establishing that the primary responsibility for coordinating rescue operations in the designated region lies with the Libyan authorities. The Commission will continue to closely monitor the projects and improve cooperation with the Libyan Coast Guard and the General Coastal Defence Administration in the context of these projects and in the framework of the EU Integrated Border Management Support Mission. The Commission's objective is to assist Libya to assume responsibility in its territorial waters in compliance with international standards.

Thick board 2 - Criminalisation of civil society and refugee helpers

In this episode I talk to Hendrik Simon, who is facing up to 20 years in prison for saving lives in the Mediterranean as part of the Iuventa crew, and Sean Binder, who was in prison in Greece for over three months for saving and helping people in the Aegean.

This is not worthy of the European Union, which is why I have invited these two and many other activists to Brussels to talk about how to end the criminalisation of aid workers. They deserve our thanks, not jail.

"We are facing up to 20 years in prison and up to €15,000 fine per person we rescued from the Mediterranean."

Henrik Simon

"I spent over three months in prison for trying to help people."

Sean Binder

Link list to the show 

Study proves: Migration to Europe independent of sea rescue

The "Migration Policy Center" comes in the study "Sea Rescue NGOs: a Pull Factor of Irregular Migration?"concludes that people don't get on dinghies in the rubber dinghies in the Mediterranean because there are rescue ships there. This confirms the results of previous studies, such as "Death by Rescue"[ Door Closes ] And... Border Deaths in the Mediterranean.

The present study has investigated for the period from 2014 to October 2019, whether there is a correlation between the presence of NGOs and the number of people who set off from Libya on their way across the across the Mediterranean Sea towards Italy is related. The is not the case. The evaluation took place month by month over the period of five years. During this time, the political situation on the Mediterranean Sea has changed dramatically several times. Instead of rescuing people from distress at sea rescue people from distress at sea, civilian aid organisations have had to take over this task in recent years. have had to take over this task in recent years. But their work is not only made more difficult – often they are criminalised and intimidated for their humanitarian work and intimidated. This is often coupled with accusations that the sea rescue is increasing the number of people fleeing Libya. But the study shows once again that this connection does not exist.

There are understandable motives that force people on the dangerous crossing. Libya is a politically disrupted state, where refugees and migrants from refugees and migrants from sub-Saharan Africa are threatened by torture, enslavement, sexual abuse and existential poverty. The people don't get on the rubber dinghies because there are boats to rescue them. There but more people die when there are no ships to rescue them.

In most cases, people do not wear life jackets and are not equipped with communication or navigation tools navigation equipment. Many cannot swim. The completely overcrowded boats are usually unable to reach the next safe place on their own. reach the next safe place. This alone puts people in distress at sea.

There is no evidence to support the assertion that people make their escape presence of lifeboats, there is no evidence. Nevertheless such connections are repeatedly brought into the discussion. Thus the FDP recently claimed in a Tweet of October 8, 2019, that Seehofer's promise, to take in people rescued from distress at sea in Germany would drive more people on the Mediterranean Sea.

Spiegel Online writes under the title: "More rescuers, more refugees - why this is so not true", which the results of the previous studies, which are now confirmed by the new study. confirmed by the new study. The migration scientist Matteo Villa collected data on how many migrants departed from the Libyan coast from the beginning of January to the end of June 2019, and Libyan coast and on how many of those days boats from private sea rescue sea rescue NGOs were in operation. His conclusion is that on the 31 days that NGOs were operating in the Mediterranean, the tugboats sent an average of sent 32.8 people out to sea; on the 150 days when no NGOs were present, the tugboats were present, the traffickers sent an average of 34.6 people on their way. Villa's conclusion, according to Spiegel Online: "The pull factor does not exist."


Sea Rescue NGOs: a Pull Factor of Irregular Migration?

Death by Rescue

Border Deaths in the Mediterranean