Government says that Malta will not accept or guarantee the rescue of any more immigrants
The Government said that no more permission will be given for irregular immigrants to disembark in our country whether they are on board NGO ships, or any other type of vessel or boat. Likewise, resources for assistance to irregular immigrants on any vessel cannot be guaranteed either.
This statement was issued after the Armed Forces of Malta were monitoring a boat last night with immigrants on board in Malta’s Search & Rescue Zone. The boat was being monitored for several hours. The immigrants will be allowed to disembark in Malta and will be kept in detention.
The Cabinet said that this decision was taken in the light of the current very serious situation which the country is going through right now, and the pressures which the Covid-19 pandemic is creating, as well as other considerations. Because of these extraordinary challenges, at a moment where the country has declared a National Health Emergency, the Maltese Government has communicated the message that it is not in a position to guarantee any resources to rescue any groups of irregular immigrants who are on board any vessel or ship.
It was explained that this has been communicated so that any immigrants who have the intention of travelling towards Malta will be aware of the risks they are taking with their own lives. For this reason, it is in the interest and responsibility of these people not to endanger their lives with risky voyages and coming close to a country which is not in a position to offer them a safe refuge.
Once the Supt of Public Health has decreed a state of public health emergency, the Government has decided that further disembarkations of immigrants in our country, who might also be infected with the virus, would seriously prejudice all the work being done against the spread of this virus. It pointed out that the Maltese authorities are not in a position to offer asylum to the immigrants at this time of great challenge especially to our public health, enforcement and the detention centres.
It added that today’s situation requires that all our resources, including that of the Armed Forces, should remain continuously focussed on the fight against the spread of this pandemic.
It was stated that Malta is not in a position to offer a safe place for the disembarkation of immigrants without compromising and prejudicing the functionality, logistic infrastructure and security structures, as well as all the efforts of the health authorities and other authorities involved to fight against the spread of COVID-19 and cure those who are already infected.