Migrants would rather risk their lives at sea than stay for one more hour in Libya, stated Deanna from the NGO Alarm Phone while interviewed by Fr Joe Borg during Newsbook Hour aired on Saturday morning on 103 Malta’s heart.
Newsbook Hour focused on the latest developments on the migration crisis in view of the recent group of migrants left stranded at sea with the Maltese government denying support because of the authority’s decision to close Maltese ports due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The NGO Alarm Phone was started working as a hotline for refugees in distress in the Mediterranean Sea as from October 2014.
Deanna emphasised that there are many migrants who die at sea and there is no record of them and with their work as an NGO they try to minimise and avoid this to continue happening.
Asked by Fr Joe Borg if it is true that NGOs work in cahoots with human traffickers, Deanna said that this is an argument used to discredit the work of NGOs and that there is no deal between traffickers and NGOs who bring the migrants to safety.
She said that she wishes that NGOs would not exist anymore because that would mean that the migration crisis would have been addressed by the respective authorities especially by the European Union.
Deanna continued to explain that the NGOs are there because they have to fill in the gaps where European institutions and governments have failed.
Asked if the NGOs want to defame Malta’s image with the international community, Deanna emphasised that it is not their intention to defame Malta’s image but they work to make visible the violation of human rights. She said they object that migrants are taken back to Libya because it is a place of war and migrants would be taken to torture camps.
People ready to welcome immigrants speak out
Two different persons who are ready to welcome immigrants into their homes were interviewed during Newsbook Hour.
Two of the people who are ready to welcome migrants are singer Phylisianne Brincat and Prof. Albert Borg. This initiative was launched by presenter Peppi Azzopardi.
Azzopardi said that many are contacting him as they wish to welcome migrants not just to do charity but also to experience the different cultures. Peppi Azzopardi said that one particular woman told him that she would like her children to interact with people from different countries and to welcome families in desperate need of help is the best possible scenario for her children to experience solidarity.
Prof. Albert Borg said that he cannot bear in mind the idea of leaving families stranded at sea because our ports are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Prof. Borg said that while Maltese families are safe in their home other families are waiting on a boat with no food or shelter and this he cannot accept.
Phylisianne Brincat said that she feels it is her duty to help the migrants as that is what God has though us to do, to help the less fortunate. Brincat said she does not have much to offer as she rents the place where she currently lives but is willing to provide shelter to the migrants who do not even have food to eat.