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Mare Liberum - Human rights monitoring in the Aegean

Mytilini, Greece

Mare Liberum is monitoring human rights in the Aegean Sea. The aim is to observe, document, and draw public attention to the situation at the European border between Turkey and Greece and to strengthen solidarity and human rights.

Hanno B. from Mare Liberum
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Mare Liberum e. V. monitors the observance of human rights for refugees in the Aegean Sea. With our two ships and from land we document the situation on the dangerous flight route between Turkey and Greece, as well as on the Greek islands. The goal is to document human rights violations, such as pushbacks, and to draw attention to them. As independent observers, we publish investigations to document the current situation at the European border. 

Since March 2020, Mare Liberum has witnessed a dramatic increase in human rights violations in the Aegean, both at sea and on land. Illegal pushbacks, in which those fleeing and migrating people are pushed back across a national border, play an especially crucial role. Over the past year, in particular, pushbacks have become an inhumane everyday reality for people on the move. Pushbacks happen almost daily at the Greek-Turkish border. In 2020 alone, we counted 321 pushbacks in the Aegean Sea, with some 9,798 people pushed back. These illegal practices to deny refugees access to the European asylum system continue. This year, 102 pushbacks of 3,052 people have already been documented (as of May 2021).

As independent witnesses, we want to draw public attention to the life-threatening and forgotten escape route between Turkey and Greece. People are still forced to board unseaworthy boats to seek refuge on the coasts of the Greek islands. On their way across the water, the refugees are confronted with state actors - such as NATO and Frontex - who do not always operate in accordance with fundamental human rights within the framework of European border protection. 

This is where Mare Liberum steps in: With our witnessing, documenting, and reporting, we want to increase long-term pressure on state actors on both sides of the border, prevent illegal push and pullback operations through our general presence and point to human rights violations. We present the results of our mission to the European public and to the lobby of refugees. We invite photographers, journalists, and scientists to participate in our mission in order to get to know the current situation and to report on what is happening.

Through our work, we aim to strengthen solidarity and fundamental human rights. Mare Liberum is politically and religiously independent and is financed exclusively through donations. With your donation, you help us to draw attention to the human rights violations at the European external border and to set a sign for a solidarity policy for refugees in Europe!