“ The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
Martin Luther King
Migration is neither a problem to be solved nor an unnatural movement to be stopped. Migration is a fact and it has been so since the dawn of humanity.
The Mediterranean Sea has become the most dangerous border in the world, with more than 17.000 deaths in the last five years.
This loss of life comes at very high cost; Europe bears these deaths at the expense of the democratic traditions on which it was based, and its values of solidarity and respect for human rights. Its failing migration policies are shaking European principles to their core.
Our governments are financing third countries, including dictatorships and failed state militias, in order to prevent refugees and migrants from arriving in Europe. On a daily basis they are violating human rights, international conventions in maritime rescue and the fundamental rights of people on the move.
We have witnessed a growing criminalisation campaign against migrants and refugees, as well as humanitarians working in defense of migrant and refugee rights. Recently, this campaign has grown into a full-blown governmental and judicial strategy aimed at turning solidarity shown to people in distress into a punishable offense.
In September 2018, one out of five people attempting the Mediterranean crossing died; the deadliest month on record and a direct consequence of European governments’ expulsion of most of the humanitarian rescue fleet from the Mediterranean, allowing neither rescue nor testimony at sea.
This rogue union, which has turned its southern border into a wet mass grave, is not the Europe we want to live in.
We believe in a supportive, inclusive, welcoming Europe that commits to respecting and preserving human life and rights, as well as its own democratic traditions.
We cannot resign ourselves to the idea that Europe has sacrificed its principles and lost its humanity.
That is why we have put together an alliance for a ‘Europe in Solidarity’, both at sea and on land. A humanitarian fleet joined by Mediterranea, Open Arms and Sea-Watch assets, but open for other organisations to join, steps up at sea as one; a fleet deeply linked to and supported by a solid
network of humanitarian cities, movements and civil organisations around the world, standing together to defend the most basic of human rights: life and dignity.
We will prove how civil society in action is not only willing but also able to bring about a new Europe; saving lives at sea and creating a just reception system on land.
Ours is a call to action to European cities, mayors, citizens, societies, movements, organisations and whoever believes in our mission, to join us. Join our civil alliance and let us stand up together, boldly claiming a future of respect and equality. We will stand united for the right to come and for the right to stay.
We ask you to not stay silent, but instead to shout out against unfair and inhumane European policies. We ask you to remain active in your citizenship, to defend the respect of our constitutions and of our history. We ask you to be on our side, and together we can prove another world is still possible.
Crews of Mediterranea, Open Arms e Sea-Watch.
Rome, 23 November 2018.