On a near daily basis, people are drowning in the Mediterranean.
Although the amount of people attempting to gain entry to Europe via this route has dropped significantly, the number of deaths actually increases due to the European Union turning its back on these refugees and immigrants. In the meanwhile, multiple vessels from NGOs with a voluntary crew of doctors, nurses, and rescue workers are stranded in Malta. European governments are preventing them from saving human lives.
We cannot accept this situation and have therefore set up the Seebrücke / Sealift movement. We are a broad movement of citizens who are committed to ensuring that rescue actions by civilians at sea remain unpunished. We call on the European Union to establish a rescue program for boat refugees, and to ensure that safe and legal refugee routes to Europe are possible.
The people attempting to reach Europe through Libya or other coastal nations often don’t have another choice. They are often taken back by the Libyan coast guard (so-called pull-backs), or they drown. Back in Libya, torture, extortion, human trafficking, slavery and rape await them. All of these abuses have been researched and documented by human rights organisations, the United Nations and the EU itself, yet still, the EU continues to financially support and co-ordinate the so-called ‘Libyan coast guard’.
The situation in the Mediterranean at present is miserable and is in direct opposition to universal human values, international maritime law, refugee law and fundamental human rights. Migration has always been a part of our society, as has international protection of those who need it. Centuries of migration have shaped Europe into what it is now.
Instead of closing borders, we need a Europe that’s open, cities that are solidary, and harbours which are safe.
In recent weeks there have been demonstrations in several German cities, and also in The Hague a first demonstration already took place, to draw attention to the gross violations at sea. We see this movement a powerful instrument to steer the debate about immigration politics back to a humane, pro-European and democratic direction. To achieve that, we want to spread our protest, our solidarity, and our network throughout the whole of Europe.
Seebrücke is an international movement, supported by different societal alliances and people. We declare our solidarity with those who have been forced to flee their own countries. We want the Netherlands and Brussels to take a clear stance against the current inhumane policies.
We stand in solidarity with all who are on the run. We want European politicians to stop using the so-called ‘Libyan coast guard’ as the bouncer of the continent. Instead, the EU must establish safe passage routes, decriminalise civilian rescue operations at sea, and ensure humane and respectful resettlement of those who have had to flee from war, violence and poverty.
Join us and let yourself be heard!
What you can do:
Invite your friends (through Facebook and in real life), come to the demonstration, and wear orange clothing (in solidarity with the SOS-colour of the rescue vests and rescue vessels). Bring a rescue vest, an (orange) banner, or a sign with your own text.