Monitoring opaque EU-ad hoc relocation from the Sea to the Cities

Following attempts by the former Italian Ministry of the Interior to block the arrival of people rescued from distress at Sea in Italian ports between 2018 and 2019, an EU ad hoc distribution mechanism was adopted in Malta in September 2019. Search and Rescue vessels and people rescued at sea were not allowed to enter Italian and Maltese ports until other member states had agreed to accept them. Several persons rescued by the civil sea rescue vessels Sea-Watch 3 and Ocean Viking in Summer 2019 were to be distributed to Luxembourg, France, Finland, Portugal and Germany.

However, the states did not meet the agreed deadline of four weeks after which the people from the hotspots in Italy and Malta were to be relocated, nor did the methods used by the respective member states follow the common agreements or the rule of law. While France and Portugal only relocated people to whom they had granted protection status, Germany delayed the relocation process. After questionable security checks by the German Secret Service, whose responsibility in asylum procedures in other EU states is unclear, some persons were denied to be resettled without official justification. On top of that, several guests of Sea-Watch 3 and Ocean Viking, who were finally resettled to Germany, received a rejection of their asylum claims through fast-track procedures.

Together with Sea-Watch, Borderline Sicilia and the Refugee Council Berlin, we are investigating the arbitrary and non-transparent procedures of ad hoc relocation: from stand-offs off the European coasts, to questionable security checks by the German Secret Service, to arrival in Germany.

Thanks to the support of the Foundation “Civil Sea Rescue Fund”, we are able to investigate to what extent fundamental rights have been violated in the course of ad hoc relocation. By conducting interviews in Italy and Germany, as well as a detailed background research on the criminalisation of the arriving persons by the German Secret Service in Malta and Italy, we will compile a detailed documentation. This will lay the foundation and serve as the starting point for a campaign for relocation and the right to stay, which will focus on the needs of people arriving in the EU.

Current projects

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Sahara: Externalisation of EU borders

The 9 million square kilometres of the Sahara now form an externalised border of the European Union. Push-backs, quarantine camps, military patrols and checkpoints in an area without infrastructure are supposed to ensure that the border becomes insurmountable. Who still dares to move can face easily death. We document human rights violations against people on the move in the Sahara.

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Situation of refugees and migrants in Italy

Here you will find information and a newsletter about the situation of refugees and migrants in Italy. We apologize - only in German language! This newsletter has been produced on behalf of PRO ASYL from 2009 -2017 by our Italian office and is published on the pages of Pro Asyl and borderline-europe. From 2017 December borderline-europe will produce the newsletter.

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Migrants in Sicily - the monitoring project of Borderline Sicilia Onlus and borderline-europe


Since 2011, monitoring and observation of the situation, but also advocacy has been one of the core tasks of our sister association Borderline Sicilia Onlus. Arrivals, the situation of the centres, access to the asylum procedure are just some of the areas on which reports are published in three languages.

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Permanent Peoples' Tribunal on the Rights of Refugees and Migrants in Berlin (2020)

We are part of an alliance to organize a civil human rights tribunal focusing on the right to health for migrants and refugees. The tribunal takes place within the Permanent Peoples' Tribunal (PPT). The Berlin hearing will take place from 23-25 October 2020 at the Refugio in Berlin.

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Criminalisation of migration and solidarity

Migration and solidarity with people on the move is being increasingly criminalised. Resisting this criminalisation is a central part of our work. We research and document socio-political developments and cases of criminalisation. In doing so, we provide concrete support for those affected and inform and sensitize a broad public in the form of information materials, public events and campaigns.

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Our work on Lesvos

Since 2015 we have been actively supporting People on the Move on Levos in various fields like education, first reception and bureaucratic steps. Since 2009 we are involved in different reports on the situation in Greece and the Aegean. Overaching values and aims of our work are to fight for human rights without borders.

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