Systematic Attacks On Sea Rescuers Continue

Proceedings for the release of ALAN KURDI to be heard in court

On April 7, 2021, the court hearing for the release of the rescue ship ALAN KURDI will take place in Cagliari, Sardinia. The Italian coast guard had the ship detained on October 9, 2020 in Olbia, Sardinia, after it had rescued 133 people, including 62 minors, in three successful rescue operations.

The detention of the rescue ship by Italian authorities is part of a systematic attack by the EU member states on people fleeing as well as civil sea rescuers. For decades, the EU countries have tried to deter people seeking protection at their external borders. The EU states ceased their own search and rescue missions years ago and instead decided to massively attack civil sea rescue organizations by political and legal means.

Sophie Weidenhiller

Political and legal attacks on sea rescuers

In addition to political defamation campaigns, legal attacks are carried out on the civil sea rescuers. Italy repeatedly detains rescue ships on flimsy grounds and against the law of the flag states. The Italian public prosecutor’s office has been investigating sea rescue organizations for years and in early March 2021 opened a case against 21 sea rescuers from the humanitarian aid organizations Doctors Without Borders, Jugend Rettet and Save the Children. If convicted, they face maximum sentences of up to twenty years in prison.

Dariush Beigui

The political and legal attacks on sea rescuers were already evident in 2017 when Italy slandered the aid organization Jugend Rettet and blocked the rescue ship IUVENTA. A year later, the Italian government exerted considerable pressure on flag states such as the Netherlands and Panama, which then withdrew their flags from the rescue ships of various civil sea rescue organizations and prevented the ships from being used.

Crimes against humanity

While the EU states are trying to stop the European sea rescuers, they are funding the so-called Libyan coast guard to push refugees back to the civil war country Libya and its torture camps. Omer Shatz therefore filed a complaint with the International Criminal Court in The Hague in 2019 for crimes against humanity, because he sees this policy as a systematic attack on people fleeing at sea.

On the occasion of the ALAN KURDI hearing, we not only demand the release of the rescue ship, but also a complete U-turn regarding the migration policy of the EU countries. The political attacks against refugees and humanitarian organizations must stop immediately. This policy has already claimed tens of thousands of deaths. This needs to end now! The name Alan Kurdi should suffice to remind politicians to change their policies at once,” appeals Gorden Isler, Chairman of Sea-Eye e. V. to the EU states.