Step 2 Part 2 - Different perspectives in migration

Character cards


The Italian government transferred the  control of the Mediterranean Sea to the Libyan coast guard in return for money, boats and training to prevent migrants from reaching European waters.

Most European countries have political parties that are opposed to allowing migrants into their countries.

Captain Pia Klemp

Pia Klemp was the captain for Seawatch and the organization Jugend Rettet, founded by young people to help refugees on the Mediterranean. Trained to be a biologist, she went back to university with the explicit goal of becoming a captain for NGOs that state the EU is neglecting its humanitarian duty by outsourcing the guarding of Mediterranean waters to Libya.

Pia Klemp has been accused of collaboration with human traffickers. She could be sentenced to 20 years imprisonment. Her indictment scares off many NGOs. After 2017, much less ships have been sent to the Mediterranean to rescue people. Pending her process, Klemp is politically active in Germany.

Civilians welcoming refugees

In 2015, the peak year of refugees coming to Europe, a lot of civilians were welcoming them. Many people volunteered to help newcomers find their way in their new hometowns.

Angela Merkel’s claim ‘Wir schaffen das’ (‘We can do this’) was supported by a lot of people in Germany.

Captain Schmidt

Born in 1941, Schmidt came from Stettin to Hamburg as a 3-year-old refugee. Stettin became the Polish city of Szczecin in 1945. Schmidt worked as a captain on merchant ships and as a teacher on a nautical college. He planned to retire in 2004, but started working on the Cap Anamur, because he wanted to do something selfless, to set an example for his sons. Saving the refugees and the difficulties that came with it, led him to become politically aware only in 2004.

Since he has been acquitted of human trafficking, he makes an effort to organise the reception of refugees in his home region of Schleswig Holstein. He also gives guest lectures about refugees and the violation of the law of the seas by the EU, whose agreement with Libya makes it difficult for ships to rescue people at sea.

Those who stay at home (Ghana)

“If there was enough work here, people wouldn’t leave. It is in our DNA to want to go to Europe”. People invest a lot of money to send family members to Europe, in pursuit of the European Dream. The ones who stay behind have high hopes. They expect the successful migrants to support them.

“In our society, it seems as if half of the people has been deported from Europe, and the other half plans to leave”.

Coast guards

European government officials claim that the Libyan coast guard has been trained to rescue people, yet this is not their first priority. They patrol the sea in order to prevent migrants from reaching European waters. When they find a boat, the people on it are shipped back to Libya. The coast guard obstructs NGO ships that try to rescue migrants. They even board these ships carrying guns. Sometimes people die.


Several NGO’s have been rescuing migrants on the Mediterranean Sea. Recently this has become a difficult thing to do, because ships carrying migrants are refused to land in Mediterranean harbours. Originally, an organisation like Sea Watch wasn’t primarily founded to rescue people. Their first priority was to be a kind of ‘Black Box’, to show people in Europe what was going on, because it is difficult for journalists to go there.

Abdul Aziz

Abdul Aziz fled from Ghana in 2002 because of a dangerous political situation in his home region of Tamale. He went to Libya, where worked and saved up money to pay for a place on a small boat heading for Italy. When the weather got worse, they were in danger. The Cap Anamur, the ship of captain Schmidt, saved them.

After years in Europe, having a difficult life doing hard menial jobs, Abdul returned to Ghana. There he saw his peers had gotten ahead of him in society. At the same time, he saw many young people still cherishing the European dream. Now, Aziz runs a counseling office. He tries to explain to young Ghanaians that life in Europe is hard and that it is preferable to look for a better life in Ghana.

Civilians opposing the arrival of refugees

Protesters in a German town, sporting banners that read: ‘Stop asylum cheaters. Go home. No welcome. Deport’.

In Europe, many people are not happy about migrants coming to their country.

These citizens are afraid of losing their jobs to migrants who are willing to work for low wages. Some fear that municipalities will favour migrants in the allocation of homes. And others are afraid that strangers will influence their culture and traditions. Protesters often don’t object to the welcoming of refugees who flee from violence and prosecution. They fear that migrants looking for a better life pose as refugees in order to get a residence permit.

Camp Moria

Many migrants come to Europe from Turkey and end up in camps in Greece. Camp Moria on the island of Lesbos was built to accommodate 3.000 migrants, but currently hosts 11.000. Hundreds of people sleep in open air, often without mattresses or blankets. They have to wash themselves next to the garbage heap. The Greek government tries to send migrants back to Turkey. The migrants travelled through there hoping to get to European countries like Germany or Great Britain, but the Turkish government refuses to take them back. The EU made an agreement with Turkey in which they promised to bring into Europe a number of Syrian refugees who fled to Turkey. But European countries are lagging behind.

The refugees are stuck in the Greek camps, desperate and with nowhere to go.