Mare Liberum Wins Appeal in Court

Press Release, September 13th 2019

On the 5th of September the Administrative court (Oberverwaltungsgericht Hamburg) decided in favor of Mare Liberum. The ship of the non-profit organisation is registered correctly and is allowed to continue monitoring human rights in the Aegean Sea.

In April Mare Liberum had received a detention order from the Berufsgenossenschaft Verkehr. This decision is part of a broader directive from the German Federal Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to the BG Verkehr to impose restrictions on civil rescue ships on the Mediterranean Sea. In May the Administrative Court of Hamburg allowed Mare Liberum to keep sailing. Now the court of appeal decided that the vessel is registered correctly.

“We see justice in the courts decision, as it rejects the political intent of the German Ministry of Transport to block civil solidarity,” says Hanno Bruchmann, spokesperson of Mare Liberum. “This decision is important, because it not only concerns us, but all civil rescue organisations at the European borders. Organisations such as Mission Lifeline are watching, concerned for the same reason. We expect the German administration to lay this case to rest now. The German government must stop sabotaging human rights activism and should support refugees rights instead,” Bruchmann continues.

Over the past two weeks, the Mare Liberum crew witnessed various landings of migrant boats and is investigating a possible illegal pull-back. In August alone, approximately 8.000 people crossed the Aegean Sea from Turkey to the Greek islands—the highest number of crossings since 2016. The majority of refugees trying to cross stem from the war-torn countries of Syria and Afghanistan. Since the beginning of 2019, at least 57 migrants have drowned attempting to making the journey from Turkey to Greece.

The mission of human rights-monitoring is very much needed in the Aegean and beyond, and Mare Liberum is now looking for more support. “We are in need of not only financial support, but also more people who actively support our organisation,” explains Bruchmann.

Mare Liberum i. A.

Gneisenaustraße 2a
10961 Berlin