A petition has been launched to stop the European Union from criminalising volunteers or even holidaymakers who rescue drowning refugees off the coast of Greece.

A confidential proposal by the EU plans to prosecute people trying to help dying refugees, by classing them as “traffickers”. The plan was exposed by the civil liberties group Statewatch this week.

It stated that volunteers who were not formally registered would be engaged in “smuggling” and could be prosecuted.

Many volunteers already worry about being criminalised and refugees have ended up drowning as a result in several incidents.

Its proponents say it is designed to take action against traffickers, but critics say its wording will also catch volunteers and charities.

The petition says:

“The EU has done little to nothing to save those drowning at sea in 2015. In 2016, without the efforts of locals, charities and volunteers, deaths in the Mediterranean will be countless.”

You can sign it from here.

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