Updated: ‘Prioritise life; open EU ports’ – Maltese NGOs

NGO Proactiva Open Arms' rescue boat is seen docked with migrants rescued in central Mediterranean Sea, at the Center for Temporary Assistance to Foreigners (CATE) in the port of Algeciras, in Campamento, near San Roque Spain December 28, 2018. REUTERS/Jon Nazca

In addition to the earlier statement from international academics on the migration situation at sea, Malta’s NGOs have also spoken up.

Malta’s NGOs have called on the Maltese Government ‘to prioritise life’ and open the port to the 49 migrants still currently stranded at sea.

The NGOs do credit the work of the Maltese Armed Forces for rescuing a number of migrants over the Christmas period and that the Maltese government was willing to allow those rescued to be brought to safety.

But, the ‘situation is unacceptable, dangerous and inhumane’, and is only getting worse.

The NGOs are referring to the situation facing the migrants and refugees who have been at sea for almost two weeks, aboard the Sea Watch 3 and Professor Albrecht Penek,

They call on EU member states to ‘support the work of the humanitarian search and rescue vessels, to share responsibility for all asylum’, and to open EU ports.

They also call for the recognition that ‘Libya is not, and must not be a port of return’.

Over 300 academics sign joint statement on migration action

Over 300 academics from across the world, are currently signing a joint statement endorsing action on European Union Member States to assume share responsibilities for refugees and migrants that are saved at sea.

The statement was originally created and signed by Dr Maria Pisani, a lecturer of the University of Malta and founder of the Integra Foundation NGO in Malta.

The document calls on the European Union and member states to support the work of Search and Rescue crews and their vessels and to open up their ports for the disembarkation of those rescued.

At this current time, 49 people are currently onboard rescue vessels in the Mediterranean. Sea Watch 3 has been at sea for almost two weeks having been denied entry to a safe port from Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Germany and Malta.

32 people remain on board the Sea Watch 3 vessel, among them 4 women, 3 children and 4 unaccompanied minors, their recent press release states.

In the last hour, it has been learned that the vessel has been given clearance to enter a ‘Shelter position’ 3 nautical miles off of the coast of Malta to protect it from worsening weather. This is not however clearance to disembark those on board.

The academic’s statement is the latest is series of appeals made to the European Union and individual Member States.  Philip Hahn of Sea Watch 3 had previously called on Germany to use its law on refugees to allow the migrants to enter.

The Maltese Archdiocese has also called on European Leaders to create ‘concrete actions’ to support the rescue and welfare of migrants,not merely talking and investing money.

‘The present situation is untenable, perilous and inhumane. Immediate action is required.’ 348 academics and counting, are saying.