The Malta Independent 21 November 2018, Wednesday

Updated (2): First group of Lifeline migrants leaves Malta for France

Thursday, 5 July 2018, 08:45 Last update: about 6 months ago

The first group of 52 migrants who were brought to Malta on the MV Lifeline last week have left Malta to France, one of the other eight countries who accepted to take them in, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said.

The prime minister added on his tweet that “Responsibility sharing and returns are possible and can be done in a humane and effective manner”.

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The number has not been officially released, with a spokesman for the government indicating that it does not matter so long as all the countries involved in the project have contributed to the idea.

In a statement, the government said that the first group of migrants to be relocated after arriving on board the MV Lifeline last Wednesday, left Malta for France this morning through the ad hoc solidarity procedure which was adopted to resolve a situation which was spiralling into a serious humanitarian crisis.

The migrants were assessed by the French immigration authorities before arrangements were made for their departure to Paris. During their short stay in Malta, the migrants received all necessary care from the Maltese authorities, the statement said.

 

Beatrice Le Frapper Du Hellen from The Malta Independent on Vimeo.

Commenting after the departure of the migrants this morning, the French Ambassador to Malta, Beatrice Le Frapper Du Hellen, said that this was an example of leadership by two heads of state, Joseph Muscat and Emmanuel Macron, who have reached a humane solution. “This is the kind of solution we have to find in Europe, through solidarity and burden-sharing. But it is also about giving migrants adequate care and attention as human beings, which they received while in Malta.”

Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal and Norway have also pledged solidarity with Malta, and will take some of the migrants. This process is ongoing, and more migrants will be leaving Malta in the coming days, the government said.

Last week, 234 migrants were brought to harbour after Malta brokered a nine-nation deal

The Prime Minister's tweet includes a photograph of the migrants boarding an Air Malta aircraft. All the migrants were seen at the airport this morning wearing orange T-shirts and carrying red back-packs with supplies.

The migrants spent six days stranded off the coast of Malta as several countries could not come to terms on their situation. Muscat then led an initiative which saw eight other nations agree to what was described as an ad-hoc agreement which allowed the Lifeline to dock in Malta.

The vessel's captain has since been charged in court with entering Malta on an unregistered vessel.

 

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