Through the transnational cooperation with migrants’ rights organisations, activists, researchers, migrants, seafarers active in, around and beyond the Mediterranean and the use of new mapping technologies, WatchTheMed aims to document the deaths and violations that are the structural product of the militarized Southern European border regime. The online map allows to spatialise incidents across the complex legal and political geography of the Mediterranean Sea. Through the accounts of survivors and witnesses, but also the analysis of ocean currents, winds, mobile phone data and satellite imagery, it is possible to determine in which Search and Rescue zone, jurisdictions and operational areas an incident occurred – as well as showing other boats who were in the vicinity of those in distress. Spatialising such information is essential to determine responsibility for violations at sea. Apart from reconstructing past events, the participatory nature of the platform allows many different actors to to indicate ongoing situations of distress.
The documentation generated by WatchTheMed seeks to support the work of organisations that defend migrants’ rights, inform migrants of their rights and security at sea, pressure authorities into respecting their obligations at sea, support the ongoing campaigns by the relatives of the dead and disappeared at sea, and support legal proceedings against those who violated the rights of migrants.
How WatchTheMed works
Informing WTM distributes information about rights and security at sea for migrants and seamen
Reporting WTM collects reports sent via phone calls or the internet from migrants, relatives, seafarers and other witnesses of ongoing or past violations at sea and visualise them on the online platform
Monitoring WTM combines testimonies and other forms of evidence with technology such as georeferenced mapping and satellite imagery to reconstruct events and determine responsibility
Pressuring WTM uses the live information on violations at sea to pressure authorities into respecting their obligations and save the lives of migrants at sea
Filing Legal cases WTM uses information & evidence on past violations to support legal cases and end impunity
Supporting WTM WTM welcomes support in the form of research, contacts, translation, reports or giving echo the violations of migrant rights at sea
About the WTM map
The map that is the core of the WTM platform aims to provide the basis for an understanding of the complex maritime environment with which migrants crossing the sea interact. An environment populated by the border police and coast guards of states of both sides of the Mediterranean but also commercial and fishing vessels and which is striated by complex and often overlapping jurisdictions that define rights and obligations of states and seafarers (see The Sea as Frontier and Rights at Sea)
The sources for the layers are referenced in the layer metatdata which can be viewed in the “layer” window on the home map. Information allowing to draw the layers has been sourced from official documents, technical reports and interviews. They are drawn to the best of our knowledge, which however remains incomplete du to lack of transparency on border control operations and surveillance means. The layers will be continuously updated as new information is accessed to provide the most complete possible picture of the maritime environment.
Reports concerning situations of distress, deaths or violations of migrants' rights are reviewed by an editorial collective for accuracy. If they respect certain norms of verifiability and credibility which allows us to determine that the information they provide is accurate, they are indicated as "verified". Reports received of which the information can not be verified are not indicated as "verified" and we accept no responsibility for their content.
Donation account for WTM:
Forschungsgesellschaft Flucht und Migration
Sparkasse der Stadt Berlin
IBAN: DE68 1005 0000 0610 0242 64