Disembark the migrants aboard the MV TALIA – Civil Society Press Release

It is beyond shameful that, once more, around 50 men and women have been stranded for days out at sea. They are being housed in miserable and unhygienic conditions on board the MV TALIA, a vessel intended for the transportation of animals. They were rescued on the explicit instructions of the Maltese authorities and are now waiting for a port of safety to be identified. Malta simply may not abdicate responsibility for people on its territory and for whom it is clearly responsible.

Whilst we fully appreciate the serious challenges posed by the arrival by sea of asylum-seekers, we underline that, as the state responsible for the search and rescue area where the rescue took place, Malta is responsible for coordinating the disembarkation of the rescued migrants in a port of safety. Furthermore, Malta human rights obligations require it to ensure that all who wish to apply for asylum in Malta are able to do so. Malta should also ensure that no one is subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, whether on board the rescuing vessel or in a country to which they are sent for disembarkation.

Malta, together with other States, is also responsible for ensuring that its actions do not serve to deter private vessels from rescuing migrants in distress at sea. This would not only be a serious violation of maritime traditions and laws, but also a relinquishment of the value of life and human dignity.

We also underline the obligation of the European Union to show true solidarity with people fleeing war and persecution and with those Member States struggling to cope with their asylum obligations.

We therefore urge the Government to allow the rescued migrants to disembark in Malta immediately. We also reiterate our request for a meeting with the authorities to discuss Malta’s position on rescue at sea and disembarkation, as well as on how we can support Malta’s efforts to secure political consensus on the creation of an effective mechanism for true responsibility-sharing among the Member States of the EU.

Statement of:

  1. aditus foundation
  2. African Media Association Malta
  3. Allied Rainbow Communities
  4. Association for Justice, Equality and Peace
  5. Bue Door English
  6. Catholic Voices Malta
  7. Christian Life Community (CLC) Malta
  8. Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation
  9. Doctors for Choice Malta
  10. Fondazzjoni Sebħ
  11. Great Oak Malta Association
  12. Integra Foundation
  13. Jesuit Refugee Service Malta
  14. Justice and Peace Commission
  15. KOPIN
  16. Kunsill Nazzjonali taż-Żgħażagħ (KNŻ)
  17. LGBTI+ Gozo
  18. Malta Emigrants’ Commission
  19. Malta House of Prayer
  20. Men Against Violence
  21. MGRM
  22. Migrant Women Association Malta
  23. Moviment Graffitti
  24. Office of the Dean, Facutly of Education
  25. Office of the Dean, Faculty for Social Wellbeing
  26. Paolo Freire Institute
  27. Peace and Good Foundation
  28. Repubblika
  29. Richmond Foundation Malta
  30. Segretarjat Assistenza Socjali tal-Azzjoni Kattolika Maltija
  31. SOS Malta
  32. St. Jeanne Antide Foundation
  33. Sudanese Community
  34. Sudanese Migrant Association
  35. Victim Support Malta
  36. Women’s Rights Foundation