5 April 2021

“Where are they?”

Civil Society Press Statement on the fate of over 100 people abandoned at sea

Photo: Lynsey Addario for The New York Times

We are extremely concerned at the fate of over 100 men, women and children in distress at sea. We know that over the past few days they were in distress in Malta’s Search and Rescue Zone. We also know that a ship was ready to rescue them, but was prevented from doing so by Malta. Now, we are unable to say where they are, if they have been pushed back to Libya or even if they are alive. It is unacceptable that Malta relinquishes its duty to coordinate the rescue of persons in distress in its Search and Rescue Zone. It is also undemocratic and reprehensible that Malta has repeatedly refused to provide information on its decisions and actions.

The undersigned organisations reiterate that every single life matters, that Malta’s migration concerns in no way justify abandoning people in distress at sea. We further stress that the Maltese authorities are accountable for their decisions and actions, and that withholding information in an attempt to circumvent these obligations is not in line with core democratic values.

We therefore urge Malta to ensure that all efforts are made to secure the lives of the 110 missing persons. We also invite Malta to immediately publish all information regarding this particular incident and to commit to a spirit of transparency and accountability for future incidents.

Statement of:

1. aditus foundation

2. African Media Association Malta

3. Alliance for Justice, Equality and Peace

4. Allied Rainbow Communities

5. Blue Door English

6. The Critical Institute

7. The Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation

8. Dean's Office, Faculty for Social Wellbeing, University of Malta

9. Dean’s Office, Faculty of Education, University of Malta

10. Fondazzjoni Sebħ

11. Great Oak Malta Association

12. Integra Foundation

13. Jesuit Refugee Service (Malta)

14. KNŻ - Kunsill Nazzjonali taż-Żgħażagħ

15. LGBTI+ Gozo

16. Malta House of Prayer Foundation

17. Malta Humanist Association

18. Malta Refugee Council

19. Maltese Association of Psychiatry

20. The Maltese Association of Social Workers (MASW)

21. Men Against Violence

22. Migrants Commission

23. Millennium Chapel

24. Moviment Graffitti

25. Paolo Freire Institute

26. Peace and Good Foundation

27. Repubblika

28. Salesians of Don Bosco - Dar Osanna Pia

29. Segretarjat Assistenza Soċjali tal-Azzjoni Kattolika Maltija

30. SOS Malta

31. Spark 15

32. St. Jeanne Antide Foundation

33. Sudanese Community

34. Victim Support Malta Foundation

35. Women’s Rights Foundation

5 April 2021

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