Dear Representatives of the Italian Parliament,
unfortunately, we are not able to attend your hearing on Apri 12, 2017 in Rome on the subject of “Managing the migration phenomenon in the Schengen area, with specific reference to the policies of Member States on external and internal border controls”, for the following reasons:
The official invitation was addressed to our ship-e-mail in Malta and our office has never received an invitation. Furthermore, the invitation lacked an address and a name or signature of the responsible person. Besides, there were no explanations of the content and purposes of this event. Our Email requesting further explanations concerning the invitation was ignored, so that our position in this context and the implied expectations are not clear for us. Hopefully, you will understand that we are seriously concerned about the humanitarian interests of the EU since the allegations of the legitimacy of our work by some official political actors.
As an initiative of volunteers, who decided they could not ignore the death of thousands of people in the Mediterranean and established the humanitarian NGO Sea-Watch, our mission refers to the Humanitarian Imperative: “That action should be taken to prevent or alleviate human suffering arising out of disaster or conflict, and that nothing should override this principle” (The Sphere Project, 2011, p. 20). Our mandate is based on the Humanitarian Charta and therefore legitimised by international law. So, we cannot understand the accusations, e.g. by Paolo Grimoldi (Lega Nord) and we strongly reject this.
The disaster is not the rescue of human life. The disaster is that the European Union does not act while thousands of people die at its borders. Even 30,000 deaths since the year 2000 do not change the behaviour of a Nobel Peace Laureate who portrays a lack of humanity and denounces the lifesaving work of Search-And-Rescue NGOs.
Of course, we are willing to attend events that ensure the protection of human rights and human lives, but therefore we need the necessary transparency about the contents, purposes and expectations.
Axel Grafmanns, CEO Sea-Watch