“Those within the Maltese rescue area should be rescued” – Archbishop

A police officer in protective clothing against possible coronavirus infection removes a life jacket from a child migrant after rescued migrants arrived on a military ship in Valletta's Grand Harbour, in Senglea, Malta March 15, 2020. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Archbishop Charles Scicluna wrote that those in danger within the Maltese rescue area should be rescued, as their safety should always be guaranteed.

On Twitter, the Archbishop wrote that saving lives and securing them in a safe place is a fundamental legal obligation. He called it a moral necessity that cannot be negotiated or removed.

This follows last week’s decision by the Maltese Government to not accept more immigrants in the Maltese Islands because of the outbreak of coronavirus. A group of 70 immigrants admitted last week had to be the last intake.

However, there are still other boats with immigrants in the Maltese rescue area. One of the four boats carrying asylum seekers has capsized on its way to Europe. In a tweet, Sea Watch, one of the lifesaving organizations, said Frontex had found the four boats that most likely are the same ones to have contacted Alarm Phone earlier. One of these boats was reversed with no one on it. It is not yet known how many people were on board.

Yesterday, a petition was sent to Prime Minister Robert Abela to rescue asylum seekers. The petition states that our humanity cannot allow these people to be deprived of our moral obligation to rescue them.

By this morning, the petition had already garnered more than 1,500 signatures.

In addition, varios NGOs issued a joint statement calling on the Prime Minister to ensure that such persons are rescued. “Our nation cannot celebrate Easter quietly while there are men, women and children drowning right at our door.”

They reiterated their appeal of a few days ago that Malta should revoke its decision to close ports for people saved at sea, whoever they are.

The organizations behind this statement are: aditus foundation, African Media Association Malta, Association for Justice, Equality and Peace, Blue Door English, The Critical Institute, Cross Culture International Foundation, The Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation, Foundation for Shelter and Support to Migrants, Integra Foundation, Isles of the Left, Jesuit Refugee Service (Malta), KOPIN, Malta Emigrants’ Commission, Migrant Women Association Malta, Graffiti Movement, Office of the Dean at the Faculty of Social Welfare within the University, People for Change Foundation, SOS Malta, Spark15, Sudanese Migrants Association, Syrian Solidarity in Malta, Social Welfare Secretariat, Paolo Freire Institute, St. Jeanne Antide Foundation, Sebbie Foundation, Church Elderly Homes and the Malta Association of Social Workers.