• Contact Info
+32 (0) 2 62 60 72 7
+32 (0) 4 95 12 96 01
31 Rue Wiertz
B-1050 Brusselles Belgium

Saving lives is NOT a crime!

We strongly condemn the Italian authorities’ moves against the NGO Jugend Rettet and their boat, the #Iuventa. This is another unbelievably shameful attack on those who save thousands of lives on the sea, or put differently: on those who do the task that authorities of the EU and member states fail so spectacularly at – at the expense of human lives!

The Code of Conduct asked for by the Italian government is a blatant violation of international law, which foresees that, in case there is need, saving lives at sea as the highest duty of all vessels. This Code of Conduct is nothing but a life-threatening interference with the search and rescue missions of NGOs. Vessels must be able to reach the nearest port in the quickest way possible in order to not waste precious time on unnecessary commutes. It’s a bizarre mixture between disgrace and ridiculous joke to put requirements on boats and personnel who do the job that Italy and other EU member states must do. If they are concerned about refugees’ health and safety, we call on them to send their own fully equipped boats and personnel to rescue refugees, rather than asking the impossible to brave NGOs and their generous, but limited supporters.

All of this has reached insane dimensions. We urgently call on the EU and its member states – and it is incredible that we have to do this – to respect human rights and international law. We want #safepassage for refugees and adequate support for those member states who happen to be on the external borders of Europe. The criminalisation of NGOs must stop immediately. They are heros, not criminals!