As a non-governmental search and rescue organisation, we strive for a world in which the human rights of all are respected. SOS Humanity stands for humanity at sea and on land. We are committed to ensuring that no person drowns while fleeing at sea and that everyone is treated with dignity.
Eight years of rescuing, protecting and testifying
Founded 2015 in Berlin as SOS Mediterranee Germany we have been operating in the central Mediterranean Sea since 2016. During this time, as part of the european SOS Mediterranee network, we have rescued 34,631 children, women and men from drowning and have brought them to a place of safety. As part of the European network, we operated two rescue ships: first the Aquarius until the end of 2018 and later on the Ocean Viking from 2019 to the end of 2021.
As of January 1st, 2022, we continue our work as SOS Humanity – independent from the previous european network – and sent our own ship to the Mediterranean Sea in August 2022.
With our rescue ship Humanity 1 we want to save even more people. Additionally, we also seek to highlight the consequences of the EU’s inhumane policy of closed borders.
Stand up for Humanity!
With our ship Humanity 1 we rescue people fleeing from distress in the central Mediterranean Sea since August 2022.
We provide the rescued people on board with clothing and food, as well as medical and psychological care. Furthermore, we identify special protection needs and communicate them to the respective agencies on land.
We document the stories of survivors and release information on abuses such as human rights violations in the central Mediterranean Sea.
We inform the public about the inhumane consequences of European migration policies. On a political level we advocate for the rights of people fleeing across the sea.
Implement applicable law
EU member states must ensure that international law is respected and implemented in the central Mediterranean Sea. Obligations under international law must not be knowingly circumvented. This includes, among other things: the duty of rescue at sea, state coordination of search and rescue operations, and the fastest possible disembarkation of survivors to a nearby place of safety.
Establish a European search and rescue programme
The EU member states must finally establish a search and rescue programme in the central Mediterranean Sea that is organised and financed by Europe and also state-coordinated. The EU search and rescue programme should be geared solely to the goal of saving lives and thus be non-military.
No cooperation with third countries to prevent migration
Under international law, neither Libya nor Tunisia can be classified as a place of safety for those rescued from distress at sea. By cooperating with unsafe third countries in search and rescue, the EU becomes complicit in breaches of international law and human rights violations at sea, as well as in Libya and Tunisia.
Any cooperation with third countries such as Libya and Tunisia, aimed at deterring individuals seeking protection and consequently violating human rights, must be terminated. The EU and its member states must immediately cease all training, equipping, and financing of the so-called Libyan Coast Guard and the Tunisian Coast Guard.
Support civilian search and rescue instead of hindering it
European citizens have established civilian search and rescue operations due to the absence of a unified European search and rescue effort by EU member states in the central Mediterranean. Nevertheless, the life-saving work of humanitarian organisations is obstructed by EU member states, notably Italy and Malta. These impediments stem from inadequate information sharing, national legislation constraints, the criminalisation of NGOs and crew members, administrative harassment, and unjustified sanctions such as fines imposed on NGOs and the detention of rescue vessels.
The EU and its member states must unequivocally oppose these obstructive measures and guarantee an environment where civilian search and rescue can be conducted in the Mediterranean without encountering any restrictions.
The people behind SOS Humanity
Founded by citizens in 2015 in response to the deaths in the Mediterranean and the failure of the European Union to prevent these deaths, SOS Humanity reflects different personal and professional backgrounds. SOS Humanity lives from all the people opposing the dying in the Mediterranean: civil society, members, board members, the teams ashore and at sea, volunteers and donors.
The ordinary members of SOS Humanity determine the principles of our life-saving work and elect the board. The honorary board manages the association in accordance with our statutes and the resolutions of the general meeting.
The team at the office in Berlin implements the goals of SOS Humanity.
The future crew on board rescues, accompanies the rescued on board and collects their stories. You want to join our crew? Read more.
The members of the eight volunteer groups in Germany multiply our work and are our anchor in civil society. In direct interaction with citizens, they create much-needed awareness for the situation in the Mediterranean.