Migration, Malta accused of coordinating another pushback to Libya
LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – The international NGO Alarm Phone once again accused the Maltese authorities of ignoring a group of migrants who was in distress, and as a result the migrants were sent back illegally to Libya. The incident occurred on 2 September, when some 16 migrants were in distress in Malta’s search and rescue area and were pushed backed illegally to Libya.
In a post on X, the NGO said that after informing the Maltese authorities of the boat’s position – some 270km south of the island, “RCC Malta did not react to our alert. Shortly after we lost contact to the group. We were worried as authorities kept silent about their fate for several days”. Alarm Phone added that on Thursday it was informed by the asylum seekers’ relatives that the group was not rescued “but illegally forced back to Benghazi in Libya!”. Malta is often accused by NGOs and human rights advocates of coordinating illegal pushbacks of asylum seekers to Libya, which the United Nations already declared it is not a safe port of disembarkation. Despite repeated warnings and an ongoing case at the International Criminal Court, the Maltese authorities are persisting with the coordination of pushbacks of asylum seekers at sea to ensure that they are intercepted and returned to Libya. According to statistics compiled for the European Council of Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), Malta failed to rescue no less than 7,459 people in distress in 2022 alone. According to the Asylum Information Database (AIDA), Malta was involved in 14 pushbacks involving a total of 789 migrants during the same period.(ITALPRESS).
Foto: Agenzia Fotogramma