We are appalled beyond words that, after 18 days of negotiations, 49 men, women and children remain stuck on a boat within sight of the Maltese shore.
In spite of countless calls for solidarity, European Member States have not managed to find a diplomatic solution to the current impasse.
This is nothing short of tragic and shameful. It can only mean that we have completely lost our humanity – as a people and a union of states that supposedly upholds the values of solidarity, respect for human rights and human dignity.
We acknowledge the complex issues this situation raises, and agree that it is a European challenge requiring a European solution. However, this cannot be an excuse to abdicate our own responsibility, as individuals and as a nation, to save lives at any cost.
The duty to save lives is not only a legal but also a moral imperative which can never be subjected to political conditions, such as the availability of concrete offers of relocation or the fear of creating a precedent.
At this point, the question we must answer is simple: what is more important, scoring political points, or saving lives?
For us, the undersigned organisations, there can be only one answer: people are more important.
Today we are here to take a stand for life and dignity. We call on Malta to prioritize life and open its doors today.
Statement endorsed by the following NGOs:
African Media Association Malta
Allejanza kontra il-Faqar
Allied Rainbow Communities
Christian Life Community (CLC) Malta
Creative Arts Therapies Society (CATS)
Dar Merħba Bik
Department for Inclusion and Access to Learning, University of Malta
Department of Gender Studies, University of Malta
Department of Social Policy and Social Work, University of Malta
Department of Youth and Community Studies, University of Malta
Fondazzjoni Ejjew Għandi
Foundation for Shelter and Support of Migrants (FSM)
International Association for Refugees
Isles of the Left
Jesuit Refugee Service Malta
Kummissjoni Gustizzja u Paci
Kunsill Studenti Universitarji
Malta Association for the Counselling Profession
Malta Catholic Youth Network
Malta Chamber of Psychologists
Malta Emigrants’ Commission
Malta LGBTIQ Rights Movement
Maltese Association of Psychiatry
Maltese Association of Social Workers (MASW)
Men Against Violence
Migrants Women’s Association Malta (MWAM)
National Foster Care Association
Office of the Dean of the Faculty of Social Wellbeing, University of Malta
Paulo Freire Institute
Peace and Good Foundation
People for Change Foundation
Platform of Human Rights Organisations in Malta
Salesians of Don Bosco
Segretarjat Assistenza Soċjali tal-Azzjoni Kattolika Malta
Society of Jesus in Malta
Solidarity with Migrants Group
St Jeanne Antide Foundation
St Vincent de Paule Society
Studenti Ħarsien Socjali (SHS)
The Critical Institute
University of Malta Chaplaincy
Victim Support Malta
Women’s Rights Foundation
Youth Alive Foundation