On 1 May 2023, the Berlin-based association for human rights monitoring in the Aegean, Mare Liberum, dissolved. Since 2018, Mare Liberum had been operating a ship along the EU maritime border between Turkey and Greece to claim that refugees were being treated in accordance with human rights. Increasing repression by the local security authorities on the Greek island of Lesbos and the legislation of the right-wing conservative government of Greece purposefully make it impossible to observe the border authorities. In order not to endanger the personal safety of those active on behalf Mare Liberum, the association is now forced to cease its work as such. At the same time, Mare Liberum is making serious accusations against the EU governments.
"Neither german nor other EU governments are seriously committed to treating refugees at the EU borders in accordance with human rights. Systematic illegal pushbacks, violence, imprisonment ind undignified camps and the criminalisation of refugees are the order of the day. Actors of solidarity, such as us as human rights observers, are also increasingly persecuted. Although we are able to defend ourselves against legal prosecution, we cannot continue our work in this way. Things cannot go on like this. The Greek government and the EU must prosecute the crimes we document and stop pushbacks. There needs to be safe corridors into the EU with guaranteed respect for human rights for all people, not just Europeans," says Hanno Bruchmann, member of the board of the Mare Liberum association in dissolution.