In a recent article in the New York Times Magazine, author Alex Palmer shines a light on the growing trend within the EU toward the criminalisation of humanitarian assistance. As a point of entry, the article describes the situation of two humanitarian aid workers in particular: Sara Mardini and Sean Binder, who were volunteering on the island of Lesbos, Greece, contributing to the search and rescue activities during the refugee crisis of 2015.
Yet, as the article explains, before long it was Mardini and Binder who needed rescuing, as they were arrested — their search and rescue volunteerism accused of being a form of smuggling. As such, the article offers insight, on a micro level, into the criminalisation of humanitarian assistance happening on a broader scale across the EU.
What was MPG’s role?
As a partner in the Horizon 2020 project “ReSOMA”, MPG created a series of policy briefs showing a growing trend within the EU toward the criminalisation of solidarity. In doing so, the project attracted significant coverage in the media which – as can be seen with this latest article in the New York Times Magazine – still continues.
In the article, MPG’s Legal Policy Analyst, Dr. Carmine Conte, is cited in the article for his research documenting at least 49 cases (against 158 humanitarian aid workers) since 2015, as well as additional supporting information on the topic. Through Conte’s research — and that of other Resoma partners — the plight of hundreds of humanitarian aid workers has been recognised.
About the Migration Policy Group (MPG)
MPG is an independent think-and-do-tank based in Brussels. MPG’s purpose is rooted in its ability to inspire networks to provide evidence-based projects, research and campaigns in the areas of integration, migration and anti-discrimination.