In a statement issued on the seventh anniversary of the Lampedusa tragedy, humanitarian NGO Kopin has appealed to Malta and Europe not to let humanity drown, but to show solidarity and compassion towards those seeking protection and a better life in Europe.
On 3 October 2013, a boat which had left Libya sank off Lampedusa. While 155 survivors had been rescued, at least 359 people, many hailing from Eritrea, Somalia and Ghana, had drowned.
Kopin noted that since then, at least 20,000 more people had died or gone missing in the Mediterranean.
“With every death of a child, woman, and man who lost their lives in a desperate attempt to find protection and a better life in Europe, humanity is increasingly diminishing the right to be called human. Being human demands an obligation not to turn a blind eye to the suffering of others, and taking responsibility for our individual and collective actions,” the NGO said.
“We have a clear and present responsibility not to let humanity drown; solidarity and compassion can be above water only if we are aware and decide to take action.”
In vide of discussions on a new EU migration pact, Kopin called for a revision of migration policies so that they showed humanity.
“Any new pact should not be based on the closure of borders or on deportations, but on policies that respect fundamental European values: human dignity, equality, democracy, and respect for human rights,” it said.
The NGO said that Malta should also review its current migration system, with emphasis put on engaging in active dialogue discussing the real and perceived challenges faced by Maltese community. But it was adamant that extremist and populist viewpoints, hate speech and any form of racism cannot be allowed to be part of the conversation.
It reiterated its call for EU institutions to officially recognise 3 October as a Day of Memory and Welcome, in which Europe could commemorate and reflect on the tragic loss of human life.
“It is a day in which we remember the past, pledge to correct the present, and to envision our common European future of solidarity and respect for all human lives. Our humanity demands it,” Kopin concluded.