18 days at sea: NGOs appeal for safe port for 49 rejected by Europe

Human rights NGOs said today they were “appalled beyond words that after 18 days of negotiations, 49 men, women and children remain stuck on a boat within sight of Maltese shores”.

In spite of countless calls for solidarity, European Member States have not managed to find a diplomatic solution to the current impasse.

“This is nothing short of tragic and shameful. It can only mean that we have completely lost our humanity – as a people and a union of States that supposedly upholds the values of solidarity, respect for human rights and human dignity,” the organisations said.

Acknowleding the complex issues this situation raised, and agreeing it was a European challenge requiring a European solution, the NGOs stressed this could not be used as an excuse to abdicate responsibility.

“This cannot be an excuse to abdicate our own responsibility, as individuals and as a nation, to save lives at any cost. The duty to save lives is not only a legal but also a moral imperative which can never be subjected to political conditions, such as the availability of concrete offers of relocation or the fear of creating a precedent,” the organisations said.

They stressed that at this point, the question that must be answered was simple: “What is more important, scoring political points or saving lives?” It was beyond doubt that saving lives was the priority, the organisations said.

“Today we are here to take a stand for life and dignity. We call on Malta to prioritise life and open its doors,” they said in a statement before the Prime Minister’s Office.


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