ESI's Gerald Knaus participated in a debate organised by Initiative für internationalen Kulturaustausch (IIK) in Hannover on "Menschen(rechte) über Bord" ("Human rights over board").
Issues discussed were the challenges and obstacles to sea rescue in the Mediterranean by NGOs and possible solutions to the abysmal situation of refugees in Libya, as well as whether the EU-Turkey Agreement yould serve as a model for similar agreements with countries of transit or origin.
Gerald argued that the EU has an interest to support the refugee convention and the right to asylum, and to take a leading role in resettling those in need of protection. It is equally imperative, however, to discourage those without protection needs from embarking on the murderous Russian roulette in dinghies off the Libyan coast. The key is to reconcile the interests of those who defend the right to protection and those who insist on control: to bring together refugee and human rights groups with interior and justice ministers and show that one cannot work without the other. Discouraging irregular arrivals, while respecting core principles, is not only a response to the legitimate expectations of voters in European democracies. It is a moral, life-saving alternative to the current inaction.
The other panellists were:
- Tankred Stöbe, Ärzte ohne Grenzen
- Fabian Melber, Fotograf und Medienkoordinator, Sea-Watch e.V.
- Sabine Lösing, Abgeordnete im EU-Parlament, DIE LINKE/Niedersachsen
- Georgia Jeschke, Ratsfrau CDU Hannover
- Kai Weber, Geschäftsführer Flüchtlingsrat Niedersachsen e.V. (moderator)
ESI proposals for the refugee crises in the Central Mediterranean and the Aegean: www.esiweb.org/refugees