NGOs commend government decision to receive Ocean Viking migrants

The NGOs stressed that Europe needed to show solidarity with external border Member States, who they said can't be expected to continue carrying the 'consequences of political inadequacy'

The migrants were transferred onto an AFM patrol brought and brought to Malta last night
The migrants were transferred onto an AFM patrol brought and brought to Malta last night

Local NGOs have come out in support of the government’s decision to receive a group of migrants who hae been stranded on an NGO vessel for almost two weeks  

“The undersigned NGOs commend the decision taken by the Government of Malta to receive the 356 migrants and refugees saved at sea by the Ocean Viking,” the NGOs said in a statement on Saturday. 

“For two long weeks, the rescued men, women and children were abandoned on a rescue vessel, forced to endure the scorching heat, uncertainty and ongoing precarity.”

The migrants were brought to Malta late on Friday night, having been rescued in multiple operations by the Ocean Viking over the past two weeks. They were transferred onto an Armed Forces of Malta patrol boat and arrived at Hay Wharf late at night.

The migrants will be relocated to Portugal, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg and Romania following an agreement brokered by the European Commission. The vessel had got caught in a standoff between Italy and Malta and remained in international waters for 14 days.

In their statement the NGOs called out European Member States for “dragging their feet” in resolving the matter, and of causing “unnecessarily prolonged human suffering.

“The principles of solidarity, considered to be a cornerstone of the Union, must take front and centre – first and foremost with those risking their lives to access protection, and also with the external border Member States who cannot be expected to continue carrying the consequences of political.

“We remind the Member States of their legal, political and moral responsibilities and call on them to do much better.”

The statement was signed by: aditus foundation, African Media Association, Catholic Voices Malta, Department of Gender Studies, Department of Youth & Community Studies, University of Malta, Drachma LGBTI, Drachma Parents Group, Integra Foundation, Jesuit Refugee Service (Malta), Kopin, Malta Emigrants Commission, Moviment Graffitti, Office of the Dean Faculty of Education, Office of the Dean, Faculty for Social Wellbeing, University of Malt, Richmond Foundation, SOS Malta, Spark 15, St. Jeanne Antide Foundation (SJAF), The Critical Institute and the Women’s Rights Foundation

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