On 30 March 2019 three teenage migrants – aged 15, 16 and 19 – were charged before Malta’s Courts. The most serious charges include acts of terrorism. If found guilty, they’ll spend the rest of their lives in prison.
They were rescued by a commercial vessel, the El Hiblu 1. Despite promises that they would be delivered to safety, the El Hiblu 1 sailed to Libya. Upon realising what had happened, the rescued migrants protested.
They simply couldn’t be returned to the horrible treatment they’d been suffering in Libya.
Joint NGO appeal to the Prime Minister to resolve the Alan Kurdi standoff
We strongly urge Malta to allow the disembarkation of the over 60 people rescued over nine days ago by the Alan Kurdi. In doing so, Malta will ensure a humane end to this incident that prioritises the preservation of lives over political and legal considerations. Whilst we appreciate that these considerations are of course central to the determination of responsibilities and obligations, these should not override or ignore the need to ensure the safety of all rescued persons and of the rescuing crew.
We remind Malta and the European Union
that Libya cannot be considered a safe port of disembarkation. Countless
reports have been revealing the appalling human rights violations suffered by
migrants in Libya. Furthermore, the recent escalation of violence in the
country highlights the increased lack of security for Libyans and migrants
alike. Forcibly returning migrants, as also Libyan nationals, to Libya would
expose them to torture, sexual violence, arbitrary detention, discrimination
and – in some cases – death.
We welcome Malta’s
decision to allow the disembarkation of the 49 migrants rescued by NGO boats,
most of whom spent 18 days at sea. Disembarkation will ensure that they are provided
with safety, shelter, and care.
We also appreciate the solidarity expressed by other Member States and institutions of the European Union, in agreeing to share the responsibility of hosting the rescued migrants.
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.