The Malta Independent 30 May 2020, Saturday

We are Christians first: Catholic groups shocked by decision to close ports to migrants

Saturday, 18 April 2020, 15:15 Last update: about 2 months ago

35 Catholic groups said they are "shocked" at the decision taken by the Government to deny support to migrants in distress in our search and rescue area, "merely on the pretext that our ports have been closed for everyone due to the Covid-19 pandemic."

The groups said that, "the mere notion that as a Nation we have even considered, let alone have left distressed migrants adrift without aid and risking to drown at sea, shakes us."

These migrants have now been found dead, are missing or have been returned to the unacceptable detention conditions in Libya, they said.

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"These are not the values that guided our nation and made us who we are. As Christians we need to be reminded that Jesus is on those boats."

While commending the work of the Government and front liners in their efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19, and also acknowledging the concern of many with the limitation of our nation's size and the risks associated with an uncontrolled influx of migrants, the groups said "we need to remember the story of the Good Samaritan. We cannot allow these concerns to be a justification for leaving our brothers and sisters in hardship and mortal peril, even more so when these fall within the search and rescue responsibilities of our country."

Emergencies require special solutions to ensure that while we protect public health from the potential of further spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, we also fulfil our legal and moral obligation to save lives in distress, the said.

"If an airplane in difficulties were to request permission for an emergency landing, would this be denied? How can we call ourselves Christians and then leave people drowning at sea?"

Saved immigrants should be quarantined for the recommended 14-day period.  Then in collaboration with the EU Commission Malta should pursue a burden-sharing arrangement similar to those applied in the recent months, they said. 

"We appeal also to the EU and Member States to be more forthcoming in this humanitarian crisis, that is bound to continue, and not offer to share the burden only after an unaided member state suffering a disproportionate burden resorts to brinkmanship. These are challenging times. Our leaders need to make daily difficult decisions, decisions they never imagined they would have to deal with. As we pray for our leaders, we also appeal to them to ensure that their decisions in future are truly guided by life-centred values."

 

Augustinian Youths

Azzjoni Kattolika  - Ghawdex

Azzjoni Kattolika - Malta

Bahrija Youth Group

CAMYouths Malta

Catholic Charismatic Renewal

Catholic Voices Malta

Centru Katekezi San Lawrenz

Centru taz-Zghazagh ta' Warda

Couples for Christ

Grupp Żgħażagħ Gudja

Malta Catholic Youth Network

Moviment ta' Kana

Moviment tal-Fokolari,

Christian Life Community

Fraternità Sekulari Charles de Foucauld

Grupp "Madonna ta' Pinu"

Jesuit Youth Network

Koinonia Charismatic Prayer Group B'Kara

KDŻG

Legion of Mary

MYMA (Malta Youth Minister's Association)

Sixth Form Chaplaincy St Aloysius College

Soċjetà MUSEUM - Nisa

STEPS Project Malta

TAB

The Call

Eucharistic Youth Movement

YouthReach

Youth 4 Jesus (Y4J)

ZAK (Zaghzagh Azzjoni Katolika)

 


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