“Malta is fulfilling its obligations according to the Search & Rescue convention” – PM
Prime Minister Robert Abela said that Malta is fulfilling its obligations according to the Search & Rescue convention, with Malta’s position being in accordance to the principles agreed upon so that humanitarian aid is given as quickly as possible. This was stated in a reply to the letter which was sent by the Commissioner for Human Rights at the Council of Europe, Dunja Mijatovic.
In her letter, Commissioner Mijatov called on Malta to give priority to humanitarian conditions and demonstrate that it was saving the lives of those who were stranded out at sea and that it was guaranteeing a safe port. She urged Malta to fulfil its obligations and save lives, ensure safe disembarkation and investigate allegations of delays or lack of help in cases of difficulty. She said that she also recognised the challenge Malta is facing during this pandemic and assured that she would continue with her work so that the Council of Europe and its member states would show more solidarity with member states such as Malta which are facing the challenge of immigration.
PM Abela said that Malta, as a country which is at the forefront of the immigration crisis, has always fulfilled its obligations and was still doing so now, so much so that it was facing unprecedented pressure because of the growing number of boats which are crossing towards Europe from Africa.
He explained that last year more than 3,400 immigrants entered Malta and up to 6 May, more than 1,200 had entered the country – a fourfold increase compared with the same time last year. He said that all this, especially in the light of the Coronavirus pandemic, has placed a huge burden on Malta. Dr Abela appealed for solidarity with Malta to share the burden of immigration with other countries who are members of the Council of Europe. He said that everyone’s participation, including that of civil society, is crucial is to stop traffickers from carrying out illegal operations which endanger people’s lives.
Read the letter sent by the Commissioner for Human Rights at the Council of Europe, Dunja Mijatovic
Read the letter sent by the Maltese Government