We are appalled beyond words that, after 18 days of negotiations, 49 men, women and children remain stuck on a boat within sight of the Maltese shore.
In spite of countless calls for solidarity, European Member States have not managed to find a diplomatic solution to the current impasse.
This is nothing short of tragic and
shameful. It can only mean that we have
completely lost our humanity – as a people and a union of states that supposedly
upholds the values of solidarity, respect for human rights and human dignity.
49 refugees and migrants remain stranded in the Mediterranean. To date, no member state has stepped up and assumed shared responsibility for refugees and migrants saved at sea. The lack of solidarity among Member States is not only disappointing, but also demonstrates a disturbing disdain for their legal, ethical and moral responsibilities towards each other, and more importantly, towards the most vulnerable.
We would like to take this opportunity to recognize and commend the work and commitment of Malta’s Armed Forces who have been engaged in a number of rescue operations in the Mediterranean over the Christmas period. Far from international headlines, the Government of Malta has opened its port and provided haven to those in desperate need of safety and security.
The situation in Libya, the violence and ongoing human rights violations are well documented. Libya is not, and must not be a port of return. We call upon the Member States to support the work of the humanitarian search and rescue vessels, to share responsibility for all asylum seekers entering the EU, regardless of port of entry, and to enable access to safety and protection throughout the EU.
As Malta and the rest of Europe
celebrate Christmas, 32 men, women and children, have been stranded out at sea for
days waiting for a country to relent and take them in.
The tragic truth is that not a
single member state has stepped up and offered refuge. This is beyond
regrettable, it is a travesty of humanity.
We, the undersigned NGOs, urge the
government to once more lead by example and allow the people stranded on board
the rescue vessel, Sea Watch 3, to disembark in Malta. Malta should do this
whether or not it is legally responsible for disembarkation in terms of
Malta, like all other European
states, has a legal obligation to offer refuge to people fleeing persecution.
The standard argument these days
is that migrants rescued at sea should be returned to Libya, even if we know
that they will be imprisoned in horrible conditions, tortured, raped, or sold
as slaves. This is a flagrant violation of our freely assumed commitment to
ensure that no one is returned to a country where their safety is not
guaranteed and where they are at risk of torture or other violations of their
Arguing that we are somehow absolved of responsibility for their fate, because Malta is not intervening directly, is nothing short of facile, as responsibility is not only legal, it is also moral and ethical. It is nothing short of cynical to use laws enacted to preserve life and protect human dignity to justify a refusal to provide a safe haven to people fleeing persecution. In so doing, we violate the spirit of the law, under the pretence of upholding its letter.
It is for this reason that we call
on Malta not to look the other way, and to open its doors to those who need it
This press release is being issued by:
aditus foundation, African Media Association, Allied Rainbow Communities, Christian Life Community (CLC) Malta, Cross Culture International Foundation (CCIF), Department for Inclusion and Access to Learning – Faculty of Education University of Malta, Integra Foundation, JRS Malta, Kummissjoni Ġustizzja u Paċi, Malta Emigrants Commission, Malta LGBTIQ Rights Movement, People for Change Foundation, Platform of Human Rights Organisations in Malta (PHROM), Solidarity with Migrant Group, SOS Malta, Spark 15, The Critical Institute, Women’s Rights Foundation
On Wednesday 28 November human rights non-governmental organisation aditus foundation donated to the Dean of the Faculty of Laws of the University of Malta copies of their two most recent publications, for the Faculty of Laws and Theology Library, and to be distributed to lecturing staff and law students.
The Compendium of Asylum Jurisprudence, Law and Policy is Malta’s first and only gathering of judicial pronouncements in the area of asylum, presenting decisions of the Maltese Courts and of the European Court of Human Rights. It is a useful handbook for practitioners, academics and students interested in various themes in the field of asylum, including: age assessment procedures, administrative detention, access to territory and procedural issues.
Receiving the books, Faculty of Laws’ Dean Professor Kevin Aquilina donated a copy of his recent book to the organisation. Human Rights Law: Selected Writings of Kevin Aquilina presents a compilation of the Dean’s insights into several themes regarding human rights in Malta.
Spanning several years of writing, it is not only intended to share the author’s views on key subjects, but to also generate discussion on the present and future of human rights law in Malta.