Sea-Watch is critically assessing Nato efforts in the Aegean Sea

Nato operation neglects most urgent need: To save human lives

“Sea-Watch is strongly questioning announcements of Nato operation in the Aegean Sea assuming that the mission objective is not compatible with our claim as an NGO to provide SAFE PASSAGE and it is to fear that the deployment will aggravate the situation. A possible deployment of Nato warships in the Aegean will be monitored critically by Sea-Watch,” says Frank Dörner, Head of Mission for Sea-Watch on Lesbos.

Primary target of the announced Nato operation is to stop smugglers. We fear that the systemic combat of smuggling will worsen the situation for refugees. “After the pact made between EU and Turkey in November we witnessed a degradation of boat quality used by refugees and an increase of departures at night and under high risk weather conditions. Nato operation therefore fails the most urgent need in the Aegean namely to prevent people from drowning,” states Dörner.

Schweres Kriegsgerät gegen Flüchtlinge – Die Schleuser sind nicht mit an Board. Foto: Fishman 53 - https://flic.kr/p/fzvPzv CC BY-ND 2.0

According to reports on Nato statements the operation contains systematic deportation of refugees found at sea back to Turkey. “Instead of investing in the isolation of Europe politics should rather create safe and legal ways for refugees to enter Europe.”, says Dörner. “We do not assume that refugee traffic can be stopped by any means that are provided by Nato operation but that conditions will again worsen the humanitarian crisis in the Aegean.”

We expressly demand safe and legal escape routes!

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