56,551 of 75,000 signatures

To EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos

Petition Text

We believe that those offering humanitarian assistance to some of Europe’s most vulnerable people should be commended for their heroic actions, and not persecuted for human smuggling. It is time you put your kind words into concrete actions and propose one small word change in the Facilitation Directive to ensure Europe’s unsung heros are treated with the dignity they deserve and not criminalised for offering humanitarian assistance.

Why is this important?

Some of the world’s most vulnerable people are seeking sanctuary on our shores. European governments refuse to act. But citizens are coming together to help other human beings and now unfortunately face criminal charges of human smuggling.

Manuel Blanco is one of these heroes. He may not call himself one, but then again real heroes rarely do. He has saved countless lives in Lesbos and now could face up to ten years in prison for human smuggling. And he is not alone. Julio Latorre, Enrique Rodriguez, Lisbeth Zornig are but a few others facing similar charges for their acts of bravery.

And instead of being celebrated as Europe’s heroes of 2016, their acts of bravery went mostly unnoticed. Even worse, their acts are being punished. Because of a few words in the current legislation.


[1] http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/01/ngos-decry-arrests-volunteer-lifeguards-greece-160116193522648.html

[2] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/denmark-criminalising-decency-with-crackdown-on-helping-refugees-says-woman-prosecuted-for-giving-a6927676.html

[3](In Italian) http://espresso.repubblica.it/attualita/2016/06/13/news/accompagnano-i-profughi-alla-caritas-e-a-udine-tre-volontari-rischiano-il-processo-1.272059

[4] The Facilitation Directive currently reads that “Any Member State may decide not to impose sanctions with regard to...” and changing the ‘may decide not to’ to ‘shall not’ would be a clear indication that Member States should not persecute those offering humanitarian assistance to those who need it for human smuggling. The full text of the facilitation directive can be found: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/ALL/?uri=CELEX%3A32002L0090

[5] http://www.npr.org/2016/01/18/463446334/greece-cracks-down-on-volunteers-aiding-migrants

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