Hey all! Hope everyone is safe! I am currently writing this blog post at 12am…I know I should be sleeping but there is something on my mind that I feel like sharing with you.
On 25 May 2020, George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man was killed in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. It all happened on a Monday night. An employee at a Minneapolis grocery store called police after Floyd allegedly tried to pass a forged cheque. CCTV footage shows that Floyd was compliant to the orders given by the policemen. A police officer handcuffed him and pinned him to the ground, kneeling on his neck. Video recorded by a bystander shows a white police officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck for 7 minutes. Despite witnesses telling the officer that his life was in danger, this continued. Floyd repeatedly says, “I can’t breathe,” and then, “I’m about to die.” But as the officer removed his knee it was too late, as George Floyd was already dead. As the footage of this act was posted on social media, protests started at the spot where Floyd died.
But why am I talking about a man that was killed in the USA?
Well, racially motivated violence is a problem all over the world, even here in Malta.
In May 2009, Suleiman Abubaker died after a bouncer at a famous club in Paceville, pushed him to the ground. Suleiman Abubaker suffered a fractured skull and lung contusions. He fell into a coma and died 11 days later. The killing of Suleiman is still unpunished. The bouncer was only fined 500 Euros for a missing licence, but nothing for the death of a human being.
We are disgusted at the situation of over 160 men detained on the Captain Morgan ships, some for more than three weeks. In detaining them out at sea, Malta is denying them basic human rights, dignity and voice. The human body and the human spirit can only endure so much. These young men have been exposed to too much trauma, we fear their physical and mental well-being will deteriorate fast. Malta is responsible for their ongoing detention out at sea and for the conditions they are forced to endure.
We remind the authorities that these are compounded by the psychological distress that they would have been forced to endure in the past weeks and months throughout their journey, including the violence that they would have been exposed to in Libya.
We are utterly disillusioned by the news that, once more, in the space of less than two weeks, almost 150 people are stranded out at sea in Malta’s SAR, while Malta waits for other European states to step in and offer support.
Yesterday morning, NGOs and media sources reported that some 78 migrants had been rescued from a vessel in distress in Malta’s SAR. They are currently aboard the Marina, a commercial vessel, close to Lampedusa waiting for directions from Malta, the state responsible for ensuring rescue and disembarkation in a safe port, about where to disembark. NGOs monitoring the migrants’ situation have reported that they are lacking food, water and medical care.
A further 57 rescued migrants are on board the Captain Morgan vessel, Europa II, normally used for coastal cruising. The Europa II was chartered by the Maltese government in order to board migrants that were transferred from the private vessel that rescued them. The government has stated that they will remain there, on the high seas, until there are concrete commitments for their relocation from other European states.
We are deeply concerned that the fate of around 62 migrants in distress at sea remains shrouded in secrecy. For more than 24 hours, men, women and children were known by European and Maltese authorities to be in distress within Malta’s Search and Rescue Zone, yet nothing is known of actions taken to ensure their safety. We remain in the dark as to whether the Government decided to rescue them, to refuse their entry to Malta, to return them to Libya or to let them drown.
It is disconcerting that news of migrants about to drown and who could be saved by Malta’s prompt intervention does not trigger any sort of response from the Government. We wholly appreciate Malta’s challenges in managing the arrival of migrants and refugees. Yet it is nonetheless abhorrent that these challenges render us insensitive to loss of life right at our doorstep.
The Government must not remain silent before such tragic incidents and must fully disclose policies, decisions and actions that could result in loss of life.
Hey all! I hope everyone is safe and taking all the precautions needed.
This week I started writing this blog post on Easter Sunday. My family and I were gathered around the kitchen table with warm food that my sisters and I had prepared. I was lucky enough to be surrounded by my family. As I had this wonderful image in front of me, I could not stop but think about the people stranded at sea. My social media was bombarded with news on how a group of asylum-seekers where stranded at sea. These articles had a profound impact on me and that’s why I decided to write this blog post.
I thought, “at the moment there are groups of men, women and children who are aboard a rubber boat, which has been stranded for more than five days now. They are facing the risk of being left to drown during those days of religious celebration for Christians, since both Malta and Italy closed their ports, having declared that they are unsafe“.