Saving Lives is not a Crime

PSI welcomes the Italian court’s decision to release Sea Watch-3 Captain Carola Rackete, who was placed on house arrest for refusing to comply with the ban on entering Italy’s territorial waters and bringing the 41 migrants rescued in the Mediterranean Sea to safety on the port of Lampedusa over the weekend.

Italian judge Alessandra Vella on Tuesday ruled that Rackete had not acted against the law when she refused to comply with the ban but was “doing her duty of saving human lives.”


PSI welcomes the Italian court’s decision to release Sea Watch-3 Captain Carola Rackete

Solidarity with Sea Watch-3 - Protest in Geneva

The United Nations have criticised Italy for its hostility towards refugee rescue ships. In May, UN Human Rights Experts wrote to the government of Italy condemning its law on penalising rescue at sea, saying that this will only further endanger the lives of migrants and asylum-seekers and will increase the business of traffickers.

Rosa Pavanelli PSI General Secretary

The brave Captain Rackete was doing her duty to human rights in the Mediterranean Sea where no European government is doing their part.

The Mediterranean Sea has become a vast graveyard of hundreds of migrants and asylum-seekers attempting to cross to Europe to find safety and a better life. Europe is facing a “crisis of conscience” by allowing this human rights violation to continue.

Rosa Pavanelli, PSI General Secretary said:

"As trade unions and civil society, we will be relentless in countering these xenophobic and inhumane policies such as those issued by Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini criminalising the act of saving lives.”

It is therefore urgent that all European governments:

  • Restore the search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean Sea
  • Adopt a predictable disembarkation policy in line with international human rights law
  • Take their fair share of responsibility for the protection of refugees
  • Increase pathways for regular migration