A socially distant demonstration was held outside Castille earlier today to call upon the government to let the 160 men detained out at sea into Malta.
Demonstrators stood outside Castille with banners and signs that asked Prime Minister Robert Abela to do the right thing and “protect the dignity of the men detained on a ship outside our waters.”
The purpose of the demonstration was also voiced through a joint civil society press release on behalf of 29 organisations, NGOs and pressure groups.
“We are disgusted at the situation of over 160 men detained on the Captain Morgan ships, some for more than three weeks,” it read.
“In detaining them out at sea, Malta is denying them basic human rights, dignity and voice. The human body and the human spirit can only endure so much. These young men have been exposed to too much trauma, we fear their physical and mental well-being will deteriorate fast.”
Malta has banned the entry of asylum seekers after declaring its ports unsafe in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ever since 1st May, it has been housing migrants rescued by the Armed Forces of Malta aboard Captain Morgan vessels just outside Maltese waters, at an estimated cost of €6,000 a day.
The government has urged EU member states to help relocate the people on board, but so far only Portugal has said it is ready to accept six people on board. And with no updates in sight, the hotline Alarm Phone has warned migrants are growing desperate, with some even staging a hunger strike and attempting suicide.
“Resorting to a hunger strike is an act of desperation, a final act, and the only course of action available to them,” the NGOs said. “They have no control over the situation, their lives are quite literally in the hands of the Government.”
“They are using their bodies, the only resource they have limited control over, to convey a message. To remind the politicians of their legal and moral responsibilities and perhaps also to speak to their conscience. To convey a message to Malta, as a nation, in the hope that we might remember their very presence, recognize and acknowledge their plight, and be the voice that they have been denied.”
“We call upon the Government to immediately put an end to this ill treatment, to provide them with the medical and psychological care that they urgently need, and to let them in.”