08 June 2020
The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights says keeping more than 400 people detained on private ships outside of Malta's territorial waters is "unsustainable and requires immediate action".
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"“The situation of more than 400 persons kept on private ships just outside Malta’s territorial waters is unsustainable and requires immediate action”, said today Dunja Mijatovic, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights.
Since Malta closed its ports in response to the Covid-19 crisis, persons rescued at sea are no longer disembarked on land, but rather transferred to ships rented by the government, positioned off Malta’s coast. The government has publicly stated that those on the ships should remain there until such time that other member states commit to relocating them.
...The Commissioner reiterated that, any challenges notwithstanding, it remains paramount that no action by Council of Europe member states results, either directly or indirectly, in the return of migrants at sea to places where they face serious human rights violations. In this respect, she highlighted again her position that any cooperation with the Libyan authorities that would result in such returns should be suspended."
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