The Malta Independent 30 May 2020, Saturday

Migrants held on Captain Morgan boats ‘denied their basic human rights,’ NGOs say

Wednesday, 20 May 2020, 18:00 Last update: about 9 days ago

160 men who have been detained on two Captain Morgan ships, some for more than three weeks, are being denied their basic human rights, 28 civil society groups said in a joint statement.

The private vessels were chartered by the government after the closure of ports to migrants, a decision the government was taken in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The NGOs said they are "disgusted" by the situation, adding that Malta was denying these people their basic human rights, dignity and voice. 

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"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 wellbeing will deteriorate fast. Malta is responsible for their ongoing detention out at sea and for the conditions they are forced to endure," the groups said.

These conditions are compounded by the psychological distress that they would have been forced to endure in the past weeks and months throughout their journey, including the violence that they would have been exposed to in Libya, they said.

Referring to reports that the migrants being kept on board the ships have gone on hunger strike, the NGOs said this is "an act of desperation, a final act, and the only course of action available to them. 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."

The NGOs called 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." 

"Furthermore, in acknowledgement of the European Union's duty to act in solidarity with Member States and refugees, we strongly urge the EU institutions to assist Malta in finding a solution to this terrible incident."

 


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