[WATCH] Migration summit: NGOs tell EU to 'get your ships together'

Rescue NGOs and Graffitti have called on EU home affairs ministers meeting in Malta to ensure asylum seekers a safe passage through the Mediterranean

Graffitti and Mission Lifeline took their message to the ministers by stringing up a banner on the bastion walls opposite where the meeting will take place
Graffitti and Mission Lifeline took their message to the ministers by stringing up a banner on the bastion walls opposite where the meeting will take place
NGOs tell EU to 'get your ships together' on migration

Home Affairs Ministers from several EU countries are meeting in Malta today to try and reach an agreement on how to handle migrant arrivals in the Mediterranean.

They are expected to discuss a redistribution mechanism that will ease the pressure on countries like Malta, Italy, and Greece.

The mini-summit is being held at Fort St Angelo in Birgu, amid tight security.

The ministerial mini-summit is being held at Fort St Angelo in Birgu
The ministerial mini-summit is being held at Fort St Angelo in Birgu

Ministers will be greeted by a banner strung up on the bastion walls in Isla, opposite the summit location, calling on them to Get Your Ships Together.

The banner was the initiative of Graffitti and Mission Lifeline, one of the many rescue NGOs operating vessels in the Mediterranean.

The NGOs also released a list of demands that include ending EU cooperation with the Libyan coastguard.

Graffitti said that while over 900 people have died in 2019 in the Mediterranea, European governments continued to shift responsibility to others like the Libyan coastguard, which it said used "methods like slavery and torture".

"EU governments are complicit in this," Moviment Graffitti said.

NGO demands

  • Safe passage through the Mediterranean for all people fleeing their country
  • The end of the agreement with the so-called 'Libyan coastguard'
  • The end of the criminalisation of NGOs
  • Reform of the Dublin regulations

Rescue NGOs have insisted that asylum seekers should be allowed to disembark at once after their rescue without waiting for a relocation agreement to be secured. There have been several instances over the past years where countries haggled on who should take in rescued migrants.

In a statement ahead of the ministerial meeting, several NGOs urged the participants to put an end to waiting-time at sea and to ensure that a permanent system of disembarkation and relocation of asylum seekers rescued in the Mediterranean is put into place.

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