Agreement between Malta and Libya comes into effect on 1 July

A agreement between Malta and Libya, signed by the PM Robert Abela during a visit of a few hours to Tripoli last week, will come into effect on 1 July. Meanwhile the controversy over 425 immigrants, all men, who are on board four ships outside of Malta’s territorial waters, continues.

Thanks to this visit by PM Abela, the two countries have agreed that as from 1 July, two co-ordination centres will be set up, one in Malta and another in Libya to strengthen the fight against the trafficking of immigrants. The agreement which was tabled in Parliament, states that these centres will have three officials in Malta and three officials in Libya. The Maltese Government will be represented by having one official of its choice out of three officials in Tripoli, while the Libyan Government of National Accord will be appointing an official to the Maltese centre, together with the two officials appointed by the Maltese Government.  The Maltese Government has agreed to make good for the setting up of the operations of the two centres.

Meanwhile there have been no developments in the negotiations for the 425 immigrants who are being kept on board the boats to be distributed to European countries. The Commission for the Council of Europe for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović said that there is a need for action so that the immigrants can be brought to land. It said that this situation is not sustainable. Commissioner Mijatovic has recognised that there is a need for a fair system to allocate where the immigrants should go, and praised the fact that the Maltese Government has evacuated the vulnerable immigrants while expressing its concerns about those still out at sea.

The Commissioner expressed her belief that the fact that these immigrants cannot ask for asylum breaches the European Convention of Human Rights. It also said that the Council member states should not be directly or indirectly involved in the return of the immigrants to Libya and should suspend all agreements they may have about this with the Libyan authorities.

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