“Where are they?”

Civil Society Press Statement on the fate of over 100 people abandoned at sea 

We are extremely concerned at the fate of over 100 men, women and children in distress at sea. We know that over the past few days they were in distress in Malta’s Search and Rescue Zone. We also know that a ship was ready to rescue them, but was prevented from doing so by Malta. Now, we are unable to say where they are, if they have been pushed back to Libya or even if they are alive. It is unacceptable that Malta relinquishes its duty to coordinate the rescue of persons in distress in its Search and Rescue Zone. It is also undemocratic and reprehensible that Malta has repeatedly refused to provide information on its decisions and actions. 

The undersigned organisations reiterate that every single life matters, that Malta’s migration concerns in no way justify abandoning people in distress at sea. We further stress that the Maltese authorities are accountable for their decisions and actions, and that withholding information in an attempt to circumvent these obligations is not in line with core democratic values.

We therefore urge Malta to ensure that all efforts are made to secure the lives of the 110 missing persons. We also invite Malta to immediately publish all information regarding this particular incident and to commit to a spirit of transparency and accountability for future incidents. 


Statement of:

  1. aditus foundation
  2. African Media Association Malta
  3. Alliance for Justice, Equality and Peace
  4. Allied Rainbow Communities
  5. Anti-Poverty Forum Malta
  6. Blue Door English
  7. The Critical Institute
  8. The Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation
  9. Dean’s Office, Faculty for Social Wellbeing, University of Malta 
  10. Dean’s Office, Faculty of Education, University of Malta
  11. Fondazzjoni Sebħ
  12. Great Oak Malta Association
  13. Integra Foundation
  14. Jesuit Refugee Service (Malta)
  15. KNŻ – Kunsill Nazzjonali taż-Żgħażagħ
  16. LGBTI+ Gozo
  17. Malta House of Prayer Foundation
  18. Malta Humanist Association
  19. Malta Refugee Council 
  20. Maltese Association of Psychiatry 
  21. The Maltese Association of Social Workers (MASW)
  22. Men Against Violence
  23. Migrants Commission
  24. Migrant Women Association Malta
  25. Millennium Chapel
  26. Moviment Graffitti
  27. Paolo Freire Institute
  28. Peace and Good Foundation
  29. Repubblika
  30. Salesians of Don Bosco – Dar Osanna Pia
  31. Segretarjat Assistenza Soċjali tal-Azzjoni Kattolika Maltija
  32. SOS Malta
  33. Spark 15 
  34. St. Jeanne Antide Foundation
  35. Sudanese Community
  36. Victim Support Malta Foundation
  37. Women’s Rights Foundation