Portugal, France and Luxembourg to accept migrants stranded off the coast of Malta for a month

Migrants on board vessels near Malta. Credit: Shutterstock

FOUR HUNDRED AND TWENTY-FIVE migrants finally managed to disembark in Malta this weekend after they were held offshore for over a month.
The European Commission has stated that Portugal, Luxembourg and France have all agreed to accept them although at this point it’s unclear just how many each will relocate.
Last month the Maltese government made an urgent appeal to EU states to offer their help in relocating the migrants who were then held on tourist ferries for several weeks, after their rescue from the sea. The migrants, from Libya, were quarantined on and moored outside Malta’s 12-mile maritime zone.
Over this time Human Rights Watch and UN agencies frequently appealed to the Maltese government to bring the stranded migrants to land. “States must continue to disembark people rescued at sea, in line with international maritime law obligations and ensure access to asylum and humanitarian assistance,” stated a joint statement by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
After news of an extremely violent incident onboard one ship, PM Robert Abela, gave in to pressure and finally allowed them into Malta.
Malta stresses that it will no longer accept migrants during the Covid crisis. Prime Minister Robert Abela also stated that as Malta’s airport and harbours have been closed to visitors, they will also not be open to migrants.


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