Amnesty International calls on government to allow migrants to disembark

‘Maltese authorities have humanitarian duty to ensure the safety and well-being of those rescued,’ says Amensty; Maltese human rights NGOs join in call.

The Maltese authorities must urgently allow a boat carrying 102 sub-Saharan Africans to disembark those on board, Amnesty International said.


The private vessel MT Salamis, which rescued the group stranded at sea and reportedly includes pregnant women, one injured woman and a five-month-old baby among its passengers, was stopped by the Maltese navy before it entered Maltese territorial waters last night. The group is currently stranded off the Maltese coast.

"The Maltese authorities have a humanitarian duty to ensure the safety and well-being of those rescued. They must allow the boat to disembark in Malta and its passengers to be given any necessary medical treatment, as well as a chance to apply for asylum," said Jezerca Tigani, deputy director for Europe and Central Asia at Amnesty International.

"Otherwise, the highest price may be paid by the women, men and children who may have to spend another night at sea with the fear of being sent back to Libya."

The Maltese government has said it does not intend to take the passengers ashore, saying the ship's captain should have taken them back to Libya.

"The Maltese government is wasting precious time in refusing to disembark people in immediate need," said Jezerca Tigani.

Amnesty International considers that no passenger onboard MT Salamis should be removed to Libya. "This would violate the international prohibition against removing anyone to a place where they would face a real risk of ill-treatment or other serious human rights abuses."

The same call was made by eight human rights NGOs in Malta. In a statement, aditus spokesman Neil Falzon said "Malta's understanding of its legal obligations fails to include international human rights law".

The law dictates that states cannot return persons to territories where their lives would be at risk.  

"There is ample evidence to show that Libya is not able, and possibly not willing, to offer protection to asylum-seekers.  The shipmaster's decision not to return the rescued persons to Libya was therefore in full conformity with international law, as also interpreted by the International Maritime Organisation," the NGOs said.  

"We reiterate our now urgent call to Italy and Malta to immediatley ensure the disembarkation of the rescued persons.  We also call on the EU to intervene to ensure the necessary support and to see that similar situations are prevented."

yes disembark and take them to brussels together with the others that are already in malta
Sounds another string pulled from Brussels.
Yesterday the Italian armed forces re-routed a vessel back to Libya. No statements were issued by the UNCHR. Is this the case of bullying with a tiny island. The ship captain should have took them back to libya he must face the music.
Why? Are they in distress? No. Do they need saving? No. Do they need food or water? No because it's being provided to them for free by the AFM and paid by us Maltese. Do they need to disembark for medical attention? No because it's being provided for free by the AFM and paid by the Maltese. Are they unsafe or in danger? No. Were they forced to travel to Europe? No. Do they have means of identification so we can know whether they're really Somalian or Erithrean refugees in need of asylum? No. Did they pass through 'terrible Libya' to come here? Yes. Did they pay (the equivalent of) thousands of Euros to shady criminals to allow them on a boat without a passport? Yes. @ Amnesty International: It's easy to speak in favour of being charitable, when it isn't YOU who's paying for charity.
What a bunch of Hypocrites! All this loves for these illegal immigrants but no one wants them in his/her country. We are not the dustbin of the European Union - where is Van Rompuy hiding? Come out and order the other members states to start burden sharing, if you have the ball bearings, We shared in others misfortune and paid millions of euros when we need them ourselves. Wake up Europe before its too late. Let bailout ourselves out of this undemocratic European union. The Union is against small Nations like Malta.