The seizure of the Iuventa

How search and rescue in the mediterranean was criminalized

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The ship „Iuventa“ of the organization „Jugend Rettet“ was seized on August 2nd 2017 by the Italian authorities. The accusations: facilitating illegal immigration, organized crime and possession of weapons. What followed was a smear campaign that had seldomly been seen before. Against „Jugend Rettet“ and all the other NGOs that do search and rescue (SAR) in the mediterranean sea.

After a short introduction in which we will explain what the civil search and rescue fleet does, we will describe the events that culminated in the seizure of the „Iuventa“. Which surveillance and intelligence techniques were used by the authorities to gather evidence. Evidence that has not been found, because it does not exist. We will describe who initiated the investigation against „Jugend Rettet“ and show how fascists, secret service and police worked hand in hand to stop the „Iuventa“ from saving people from drowning.

The seizure of the „Iuventa“ was neither the begin nor the end of a
smear campaign to discredit the work done by the civil search and rescue fleet. It was a small part in much bigger game played by the european union to discredit the work of the NGOs working in the mediterranean. In our talk we will explain why there is such a big interest by the European states to hinder their work and how the European Union is actually breaking international law to do so.

Starting with a Frontex strategy paper from January 2016 we will describe how the European Union tries to externalize their borders onto the African continent. To places where there are no cameras or eye witnesses to show the European public the deadliness of their borders.

Finally we’d like to discuss what is still possible despite the growing pressure by the european states. How can we fight fortress Europe? How do we defend us against the accusations? What have we reached? What can we still reach?

Kathrin has been operating in search & rescue projects in the Aegean and Mediterranean for the last 21 months, since August 2016 she is supporting Jugend Rettet as Field Coordinator, RHIB driver and Head of Mission. 2017 she trained and briefed all crews that operated on the Iuventa and joined a number of missions off the Libyan coast - including the last one in which the ship was seized.

She was confronted not only with the fact that Jugend Rettet had been subject to surveillance by Italian authorities over months but also with the confiscation of her personal belongings including laptop and cell phones. Ever since she continued fighting along with Jugend Rettet against a legal, political and media campaign that aims to criminalise civil search and rescue organisations.

Hendrik has been on rescue missions with different NGOs since autumn 2016. He joined Jugend Rettet in June and July 2017 for two consecutive missions as RHIB driver and RHIB team lead. He was part of one of the missions where an undercover investigator raised accusations against the crew.

Since the seizure of the Iuventa he is busy working with the team that is fighting the accusations and the media campaign against civil search and rescue organisations.

Talk ID
Saal Borg
2:30 p.m.
Ethics, Society & Politics
Type of
Talk Slug & media link

Talk & Speaker speed statistics

Very rough underestimation:
137.5 wpm
752.9 spm
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Last revision: 6 months ago

Talk & Speaker speed statistics with word clouds

Whole talk:
137.5 wpm
752.9 spm