We, Swiss artists, cultural institutions and citizens, declare our support to the Aquarius and urge our fellow citizens to get involved and participate in collective, individual or institutional actions designed to show that we are concerned and strongly supportive of the rescue work at sea. By these actions, we ask the Helvetic Confederation to instantly provide a Swiss flag to the Aquarius and enable it to pursue its humanitarian work, because providing assistance is not an option but a duty.
The Aquarius, a rescue boat contracted by SOS Méditerranée and Médecins Sans Frontières, was dedicated to saving people in distress trying to cross the sea and escape tragic living conditions, mostly the extreme abuse many have to face in Libya where the political situation is chaotic. In 31 months of operation, the Aquarius and its crew were able to rescue nearly 30,000 people who risked their lives to come to Europe, by treating them and granting them a shelter where their safety wouldn’t be threatened. As a result of political and economical pressure, the Aquarius lost its Panamanian flag and was prevented from continuing its rescue operations. It was the last active rescue boat on the Mediterranean Sea.
Since last October 4, the ship and its crew have been blocked in Marseille, which situation is leading to an increasing number of drownings. We cannot accept this.
We invite each and every one of you to make this manifesto your own and, through actions, to bring it to light within the public space. We also encourage cultural institutions to display it on their walls and participate in whatever way and proportion they feel is appropriate.