After 19 days at sea, the 49 people on board Sea-Watch 3 and Professor Albrecht Penck, that have been taken hostage by the European Union are free. Sea-Watch is pleased that the people, some of whom were rescued on 22 December, are now finally allowed to go on land. At the same time, a sustainable solution is lacking and migration policy must not be negotiated at the expense of people in distress at sea. Meanwhile, a growing movement for a Europe of solidarity and the willingness of numerous cities, provinces and federal states to welcome people even against the will of the EU states is encouraging. Sea-Watch, together with the alliance #united4med, will continue to defend human rights on the Mediterranean Sea and will stand up for a Europe of solidarity.
“We are incredibly relieved that our guests are finally on land after 19 days of being held hostage by the EU. At the same time, it must be clear that such a tragedy must not be repeated. This deal was negotiated at the expense of people on board our ship, it shows that the EU is neither able nor willing to put fundamental rights above political tactics. Distribution issues should be negotiated on land,” says Johannes Bayer, chairman of Sea-Watch.
“What really gives us hope and strength for the challenges ahead, is the strong support from civil society. Our gratitude goes to all the cities from Berlin to Barcelona that are willing to welcome rescued people. Especially we want to mention Palermo and Naples as well as the shipping associations and our partners from Mediterranea in the alliance #united4med, who have worked out practical solutions while EU politicians where only talking. Together we will continue to defend and demand human rights in the Mediterranean, if states are not willing to do so, then with the help of a wide civil society movement, we will not leave the people alone out there,” Bayer said.