PN calls on Government to rescue vulnerable stranded at sea

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

The Opposition has called on the government to intervene and rescue the most vulnerable who are currently on board unseaworthy boats at sea, two of which are in the Maltese search and rescue region.

In a statement on Sunday, Partit Nazzjonalista said that as a nation we will be distinguished on how we act with the most vulnerable.

Currently over 250 asylum seekers and refugees are on board four boats. Migrant NGO Alarm Phone has said that it lost contact with two boats one of which was adrift in the region which falls under the responsibility of the Maltese state.

In an unprecedented decision, Malta declared its ports to be unsafe and would not be allowing any migrant landings due to the coronavirus outbreak on the island. The government also declared it could not guarantee rescue due to the resources being overstretched.

The Nationalist Party has called on the government to rescue the vulnerable who are on board the boats and risking their lives, in particular women and children currently off the coast of Malta.

The Opposition said that the government failed in the migration sector as it was not adequately prepared. Further, it reminded that the government must uphold its international humanitarian obligations.

The controversial decision by the government came under fire with local NGOs reminding it that human right obligations cannot be shelved even during a pandemic. On Sunday, Prime Minister Robert Abela speaking on Partit Laburista’s media said that the decision was taken on the grounds of public health.

A clinic at Ħal Far

The Opposition said that the clinic at Ħal Far which is being run by Red Cross was not a hospital for asylum seekers and refugees who are housed at Ħal Far ‘Tent Village’.

Partit Nazzjonalista made a reference to the public comments made by the CEO of the Foundation Alfred Grixti who had said that migrant rescue boats should be “sunk”. The Opposition noted that the government could not allow a public official make such statements with impunity.

The Opposition remarked that it has continuously offered its assistance on migration to reach national consensus, however, the invite was persistently turned down by the government.

The statement was signed by Deputy Leader David Agius and fellow MPs Beppe Fenech Adami and Carmelo Mifsud Bonnici as well as PN head of delegation and MEP Roberta Metsola.