JEF Europe: Seawatch-3: This job should not have to be done by an NGO!

Brussels, July 3, 2019.

The Young European Federalists (JEF Europe) has been closely following the worrying situation regarding the NGO vessel “Sea-Watch 3”, whose captain Carola Rackete was placed under house arrest after being accused of aiding illegal migration and ramming a patrol boat in an “act of war" (quote Salvini). After three days, her arrest was lifted on Tuesday evening.

“JEF Europe is relieved to hear about the release of the “Sea-Watch 3” captain. By taking the brave decision to dock the vessel at the port of Lampedusa because of increasing humanitarian and safety concerns aboard, Carola Rackete may have disobeyed Italian orders and broken the Salvini decree but in doing so she was fulfilling her duties as captain in saving her passengers’ lives”, comments Christopher Glueck, President of JEF Europe. “This is only the latest of many cases in which the majority of European governments have neglected our common European values. Instead, they have chosen to play political games at the cost of human lives. This complete disregard for human life is not what Europe nor what humanity stands for", he adds.

“If the Italian Government is as concerned about the migration situation as it makes itself out to be, it ought to turn its efforts to finding a common European solution.  Letting people die at sea by closing ports - in exchange for electoral gains, which are based on false narratives of fear,  - will not stop people from risking their lives by crossing the Mediterranean in the hopes of seeking a better life for them and their children, states Glueck. "And let’s address the elephant in the room: this job should not have to be done by an NGO, by volunteers. As Young European Federalists we will not turn a blind eye to the danger such actions pose to the value of human dignity. Let us say it again, we call on the Italian along with all European Governments to put aside nationalism and instead take up responsibility and come together to find a common European solution to this common European issue”, concludes Glueck.

JEF Europe has been persistently calling for the acceleration of the phasing out of the Dublin regulations and the adoption of a common Migration and Asylum policy. Such policy should impose financial sanctions for Member States that do not respect the migration quota  and tasks the European Border and Coast Guard Agency with search and rescue in the Mediterranean and in the Aegean Sea. Furthermore, the establishment of legal humanitarian channels to ensure safe travel to the EU, such as the creation of common European asylum offices in third countries and the granting of humanitarian visas, would also better equip the European Union to combat the issue of illegal human trafficking.

The vessel “Sea-Watch 3” had 42 people on board who had been rescued from a shipwreck in International waters two weeks before, and was persistently denied entry by the Italian authorities despite the port of Lampedusa being the nearest safe port.


About JEF Europe
The Young European Federalists (JEF) Europe is a non-partisan youth NGO active with 13.000  members active in more than 30 countries. The organisation strives towards a federal Europe based on the principles of democracy and subsidiarity as well as respect for human rights. JEF promotes true European Citizenship, and works towards more active participation of young people in democratic life. While the umbrella organisation JEF Europe was founded in 1972, its sections have been operating continuously since the end of the Second World War, making it the oldest pro-European and only federalist youth organisation.

Press contact
Christopher Glück