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Two weeks stranded at sea: ‘The number one priority should be to save lives’

Archbishop Charles Scicluna Lifeline Crew
Archbishop Charles Scicluna visiting the migrant rescue vessel Lifeline, impounded in Malta. Photo: Marc Tilley / Lifeline

The Malta Social Workers Association has called on “all politicians and people of good will” to show solidarity with people stranded out at sea for two weeks.

While taking note of the government’s stated political responsibility, the Association nevertheless said, “now it is time to save those who are risking their lives”.

It urged the authorities to provide all help and support. “While it is paramount that an urgent solution on this matter is found, the number one priority should be to save people’s lives”.

On Saturday, Archbishop Charles Scicluna visited the migrant rescue vessel Lifeline that remains impounded in Malta after it saved lives at sea last June. The Archbishop expressed solidarity with organisation’s mission.

The Archbishop said that while he acknowledged that the phenomenon of immigration required solutions on a European level, it was a great injustice that these brothers and sisters became victims of the negotiations between European leaders.

“Human life is priceless and negotiations should never be held at the detriment of persons who are in distress,”Archbishop Scicluna said.

During his meeting with crew members, the Archbishop mentioned the appeals he made together with bishops Mgr Mario Grech and Mgr Joseph Galea-Curmi, for Europe to show compassion and concrete solidarity with the most vulnerable.

Lifeline Archbishop

Two weeks ago, a group of migrants were saved off Libya by the Sea-Watch organisation but 49 people remain stranded off Malta, as European leaders fail to agree on who should assume responsibility for them.

On Twitter, the Lifeline crew welcomed the Archbishop’s visit and discussion, saying: “Malta’s Archbishop became the most influential civil society leader in our continued struggle to bring humans rights to the fore”.

“The frustrating situation facing Sea-Watch & Sea-Eye is sadly nothing new, but rather the continued effect of political unwillingness to put human beings at the centre of policy-making. We are now the scapegoat to a system embarrassed by its own failings,” media coordinator Marc Tilley said.

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