by Marlene Resch
On World Refugee Day Sea-Watch urged the EU together with seven other NGOs to change their mirgation policy. This now shows effect. The establishment of an objective Monitoringcenter for the Mediterranean is planned as a pilotproject. Stakeholders from EU and Frontex agreed on that on a conference last week in London. We will continue fighting, to make them hear more of our claims and to realise legal and safe Passage to Europe.
People are still dying on the Mediterranean on their way to Europa, the humanitarian crises at Europes borders is not over yet. To search for constructive solutions stakeholders from the EU and Frontex, NGOs, the Italian Coast Guards and Science gathered in London.
In three different Panels of the „Death at Sea and the Securitisation of Search and Rescue“ Conference of the Queen Mary University in London the main problems and different ideas of solution for the inhuman situation on the Mediterranean were discussed.
Sea-Watch CEO Axel Grafmanns mentioned once more the criminalization of the work of SAR-NGOs and criticized it sharply: „We don’t have a refugee crises, we have a crises of human rights on the Mediterranean. We need a new operation Mare Nostrum and not cooperation with Libyan Coast Guards. This is why we will continue our rescue mission in the Mediterranean until Europe starts to take its responsibility.“
Lively debates revealed where the main conflict is: the discussion of human rights versus protection of borders. The position of Sea-Watch is clear: „The solution ist not cooperation with criminal militias in Libya. We need a adequate rescue system on the Mediterranean and the nonviolation of international law!“ Stakeholders from Amnesty International also gave shocking insight into the recent situation on Europes borders in terms of international law and sharply criticized its violation.
In addition to that Axel Grafmanns put the demands which Sea-Watch had made along with seven other NGOs in June this year back on the agenda. One of them: An independent and impartial monitoring system for the Mediterranean Sea. For the first time, the implementation of that idea seems within the realm of possibility. As a result of the Conference a pilot project is being planned. Under coordination of Queen Mary University London and Macquarie University Sydney a Monitoringsystem for the SAR-NGOs shall be established so that monitoring can be centralised. In different groups, stakeholders at the conference discussed ideas about financing, fundraising, the independence of the centre, including how to prevent abuse of data. The focus of the Monitoringsystem for the SAR-NGOs is supposed to lie on the documentation of violations of human rights on the Mediterranean. Axel Grafmanns points out: “For Sea-Watch the focus is once more: The nonviolation of human rights is nonnegotiable. It has to be grounding of all discussions about the situation on the Mediterranean. The on the conference concluded SAR-Observatory is an important contribution therefor, supported by international players from science and humanitarian practice.”