“Where are they?” - Civil Society Press Statement on the fate of over 100 people abandoned at sea

“Where are they?”

Civil Society Press Statement on the fate of over 100 people abandoned at sea 


We 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. It is also undemocratic and reprehensible that Malta has repeatedly refused to provide information on its decisions and actions. 

The undersigned organisations reiterate 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.  

5 April 2021


 Statement of:


  1. aditus foundation
  2. African Media Association Malta
  3. Alliance for Justice, Equality and Peace
  4. Allied Rainbow Communities
  5. Blue Door English
  6. The Critical Institute
  7. The Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation
  8. Dean's Office, Faculty for Social Wellbeing, University of Malta 
  9. Dean’s Office, Faculty of Education, University of Malta
  10. Fondazzjoni Sebħ
  11. Great Oak Malta Association
  12. Integra Foundation
  13. Jesuit Refugee Service (Malta)
  14. KNŻ - Kunsill Nazzjonali taż-Żgħażagħ
  15. LGBTI+ Gozo
  16. Malta House of Prayer Foundation
  17. Malta Humanist Association
  18. Malta Refugee Council 
  19. Maltese Association of Psychiatry 
  20. The Maltese Association of Social Workers (MASW)
  21. Men Against Violence
  22. Migrants Commission
  23. Millennium Chapel
  24. Moviment Graffitti
  25. Paolo Freire Institute
  26. Peace and Good Foundation
  27. Repubblika
  28. Salesians of Don Bosco - Dar Osanna Pia
  29. Segretarjat Assistenza Soċjali tal-Azzjoni Kattolika Maltija
  30. SOS Malta
  31. Spark 15 
  32. St. Jeanne Antide Foundation
  33. Sudanese Community
  34. Victim Support Malta Foundation
  35. Women’s Rights Foundation 

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