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TWENTY-NINE charities in Malta have called on their government to allow 62 refugees abroad an overcrowded rescue ship in the Mediterranean to disembark on the island.
German NGO Sea-Eye’s ship, the Alan Kurdi, rescued 64 people from a sinking dinghy off the coast of Libya on April 3.
Day 10 on #AlanKurdi. "While we wait, we sing."
— sea-eye (@seaeyeorg) April 12, 2019
Two women have since been airlifted off for medical reasons but the ship has been denied access to Italian and Maltese ports.
“We strongly urge Malta to allow the disembarkation of the over 60 people rescued over nine days ago by the Alan Kurdi,” the letter states.
“In doing so, Malta will ensure a humane end to this incident that prioritises the preservation of lives over political and legal considerations.
The organisations remind the Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat that Libya is not a safe port for refugees, nor for Libyans themselves, and urge him not to follow Italy’s harsh example.
“Forcibly returning migrants, as also Libyan nationals, to Libya would expose them to torture, sexual violence, arbitrary detention, discrimination and — in some cases — death,” the letter continues.
“While we appreciate the difficulties Malta faces due to Italy’s extreme stance on migration issues, we nonetheless appeal to the Prime Minister to prove that the nation may and will rise above this terrible race to the bottom. We can and must do better.”
Muscat has so far refused to heed Sea-Eye’s call and said that the ship should have headed for Tunisia.
France’s Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said yesterday that his country is ready to take in 20 of the people on board.
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