The Malta Independent 19 April 2021, Monday

Where are they?: NGOs demand answers about fate of stranded migrants

Tuesday, 6 April 2021, 10:09 Last update: about 13 days ago

A number of civil society NGOs have demanded answers about the fate of over a hundred migrants who remain stranded in Malta’s search and rescue area.

The Maltese government has been criticised for “refusing” to aid a number of migrant vessels over Easter. According to some reports, some of the boats reached Lampedusa.

The NGOs said on Tuesday that they are “extremely concerned at the fate of over 100 men, women and children in distress at sea.”


“We know that over the past few days they were in distress in Malta’s Search and Rescue Zone. We also know that a ship was ready to rescue them but was prevented from doing so by Malta. Now, we are unable to say where they are, if they have been pushed back to Libya or even if they are alive.”

It is “unacceptable” that Malta relinquishes its duty to coordinate the rescue of persons in distress in its Search and Rescue Zone, they said. “It is also undemocratic and reprehensible that Malta has repeatedly refused to provide information on its decisions and actions.”

The NGOs reiterated that every single life matters, that Malta’s migration concerns in no way justify abandoning people in distress at sea. “We further stress that the Maltese authorities are accountable for their decisions and actions, and that withholding information in an attempt to circumvent these obligations is not in line with core democratic values.”

“We therefore urge Malta to ensure that all efforts are made to secure the lives of the 110 missing persons. We also invite Malta to immediately publish all information regarding this particular incident and to commit to a spirit of transparency and accountability for future incidents.”  

The statement was signed by the following groups: 

aditus foundation

African Media Association Malta

Alliance for Justice, Equality and Peace

Allied Rainbow Communities

Blue Door English

The Critical Institute

The Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation

Dean's Office, Faculty for Social Wellbeing, University of Malta

Dean’s Office, Faculty of Education, University of Malta

Fondazzjoni Sebħ

Great Oak Malta Association

Integra Foundation

Jesuit Refugee Service (Malta)

KNŻ - Kunsill Nazzjonali taż-Żgħażagħ


Malta House of Prayer Foundation

Malta Humanist Association

Malta Refugee Council

Maltese Association of Psychiatry

The Maltese Association of Social Workers (MASW)

Men Against Violence

Migrants Commission

Millennium Chapel

Moviment Graffitti

Paolo Freire Institute

Peace and Good Foundation


Salesians of Don Bosco - Dar Osanna Pia

Segretarjat Assistenza Soċjali tal-Azzjoni Kattolika Maltija

SOS Malta

Spark 15

St. Jeanne Antide Foundation

Sudanese Community

Victim Support Malta Foundation

Women’s Rights Foundation

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