Archbishop Charles Scicluna said that the question of human dignity is not negotiable during a visit on the vessel belonging to the German civil search and rescue NGO Mission Lifeline. Greeted by some of the crew members, the Archbishop met representatives of Mission Lifeline where they discussed the situation in Libya, international law, the NGO’s work and the current situation of the 49 asylum seekers still awaiting for a safe port where they could disembark.
The Archbishop described the situation of the 49 migrants as “great injustice” while he stated that he understood that the phenomenon of migration was complex. “The human life is invaluable and negotiations must never be carried out at the expense of people who are suffering” reiterated Archbishop Scicluna. He then appealed to Europe to find an immediate solution so that the 49 people rescued some of which have been 14 days on board NGO vessel Sea Watch 3 would be granted a safe port. Mgr Scicluna reminded that in a joint statement with the Bishop of Gozo Mario Grech and the Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Galea-Curmi, the bishops appealed for concrete solutions to address the situation of those who are most vulnerable.
In comments given to Newsbook.com.mt, Mgr Scicluna explained that the dialogue persuaded him that the issue was indeed complex; however it highlighted the need for cooperation in order to safeguard the dignity of each and every individual, especially in desperate times.
The Archbishop said that the situation also showed that the European Union needs to act as a whole, stressing that the Union was built on the principle of solidarity.
He further explained that there was no better solidarity than acting together to protect the dignity of each and every individual irrespective of their circumstances.
Mgr Scicluna expressed his support towards the Government’s efforts to place responsibility on other EU Member States to act on migration, and reminded that one should give witness to one’s belief in human dignity and in “protecting the freedom of our brothers”.
In a statement the German civil search and rescue NGO, Mission Lifeline announced the visit, as the NGO continues to dialogue with various civil society actors on the current situation. 49 people rescued by 2 German NGO vessels remained stranded off the Maltese coast, some of which have been for 14 days.
Mission Lifeline explained that the visit is part of their work to continue collaborating with all levels of civil society in search of a solution.
The bishops of Malta had issued a statement urging for concrete action to be found on the 49 rescued, which was followed by a letter to their European counterparts asking them to urge their leaders to find a solution.
The NGO’s vessel remains held up in Malta due to ongoing court procedures against Captain Claus-Peter Reisch. The vessel had rescued 234 asylum seekers which were later allowed to disembark following a stand off between Malta and Italy and an ad hoc deal with European Member States in which it was agreed to relocate the migrants between various states after disembarkation.
PN MEP Roberta Metsola later thanked the Archbishop on social media:
Thank you @BishopScicluna for being a true example of Maltese values, moral authority and strength in front of the world.
— Roberta Metsola MEP (@RobertaMetsola) January 5, 2019