Twenty-eight NGOs have joined forces to demand an immediate end to the detention of asylum seekers on Captain Morgan boats, calling for the detainees to be allowed entry.
Representatives of the NGOs, who issued a joint statement to make their appeal, held a “socially distant demonstration” outside the Auberge de Castille on Wednesday evening.
In their statement, the organisations said that they were “disgusted” by the situation, through which Malta was denying over 160 men “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 wellbeing will deteriorate fast,” they said, stating that Malta was ultimately responsible 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,” they added.
Hunger strikes ‘only course of action available’
NGO Alarm Phone, which runs a support hotline for migrants seeking to reach Europe from Libya, reported that some detainees had started hunger strikes, and suicide attempts were also recorded.
The organisations noted that a hunger strike was an act of desperation, but also the only course of action available to the detainees.
“They are using their bodies, the only resource they have limited control over, to convey a message. To remind the politicians of their legal and moral responsibilities and perhaps also to speak to their conscience. To convey a message to Malta, as a nation, in the hope that we might remember their very presence, recognize and acknowledge their plight, and be the voice that they have been denied,” they said.
The government should respond by ending their ill-treatment, provide them with the medical and psychological care they need and allow them entry into Malta, they said. However, they also urged EU institutions to assist Malta, noting their duty to act in solidarity with member states and refugees alike.
The appeal was signed by the following organisations:
- aditus foundation
- African Media Association Malta
- Anti-Poverty Forum Malta
- Association for Justice, Equality and Peace
- Blue Door English
- Catholic Voices Malta
- The Critical Institute
- The Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation
- Dar Hosea
- Dar tal-Providenza
- Integra Foundation
- Jesuit Refugee Service Malta
- Justice and Peace Commission
- Malta Emigrants’ Commission
- Migrant Women Association Malta
- Moviment Graffitti
- Office of the Dean – Faculty for Social Wellbeing
- Salesjani Dar Osanna Pia
- Segretarjat Assistanza Soċjali tal-Azzjoni Kattolika Maltija
- Society of St. Vincent de Paul – Malta
- SOS Malta
- St. Jeanne Antide Foundation
- Women’s Rights Foundation
- Youth Alive Foundation