PFIF: Immediate European Solutions Must End Crisis Of Rescue Ships Stranded In Malta

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PARIS – Paris Francophone Institute for Freedoms (PFIF) called the European Union to find immediate solutions to the crisis of several humanitarian rescue ships stranded in Malta for political reasons that violate international humanitarian law.

PFIF, an international human rights group, said in a press release that stopping the movement of immigrant rescue ships threatens the life of immigrants three or four times over the past months thought their numbers from North Africa and other countries have declined.

All European countries must assume their moral and legal responsibilities in finding a safe harbor for civil rescue vessels for immigrants in the Mediterranean, the institute added.

The Institute of expressed its censure of leaving a civil rescue ships stuck in Malta, stressing the responsibility of all European countries to find a solution and assume their responsibilities in order to find a safe harbor in the Mediterranean for migrants fleeing violence and war and conditions of poverty and others.

A few days ago, the Aquarius ship had not rescued 58 migrants who had rescued them from Libya in Malta, fearing that they would be held in Valletta, like many other humanitarian vessels, in a coordinated campaign to prevent their operations.

Malta has agreed to take down 58 migrants who will be deployed to Germany, Portugal, France and Spain, but after Panama’s decision to unregister its ship, Aquarius must remain in international waters.

Malta has been the main port of many small humanitarian vessels operating off Libya for many years. It has disappointed the hopes of many humanitarian organizations that have disbanded its ships, while the ships of the remaining organizations remain stuck in Malta, such as C-Watch and Lifeline.

The C-Watch 3 has been held at Port Valletta since June, although Dutch inspectors confirmed in July 2018 that the ship was registered in the Netherlands.

Since May, Malta has been holding a small plane purchased by Sea Watch to monitor vessels at risk in the sea, without legal reason. As well as the detention of the Life Line vessel for alleged registration issues.

For its part, Italy has closed the door to ships that have rescued immigrants, especially the ships of non-governmental organizations for allegedly serving the interests of smugglers.

PFIF warned that as a result of these policies, while the number of boats originating from Libya continues to decline, the number of deaths is rising significantly. It increased from one death per 42 sailing operations in 2017 to one death per 18 sailing operations between June and August 2018.

Paris Francophone Institute for Freedoms expressed its condemnation of the behavior of the Maltese and Italian authorities, which have no legal basis in stopping the rescue efforts. It stressed that European countries are more than ever required to curb calls to hatred and discrimination against refugees and migrants and to take a firm stand against the phenomenon of Xenophobia and violation of the rights of refugees and migrants resulting from a wave of extreme right-wing positions in Europe.

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