SOS Humanity Petition Unterschriftenübergabe Innenministerium Berlin Germany 2023/06/07 ©
Wanda Proft / SOS Humanity




We believe that it is not enough to rescue people at sea – people are also saved from drowning by political decisions on land. In addition to rescuing at sea, we therefore inform the public about the inhumane consequences of European migration policies. We stand up for the rights of people forced to fleeing across the sea and demand political change. 

Our demands to the European Union and its member states

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.


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SOS Humanity e.V.
Postbox 440352
D-12003 Berlin
Phone +49 (0) 30 2352 5682


SOS Humanity e.V.

IBAN: DE 0410 0500 0001 9041 8451