Malta must rescue migrants at sea, Council of Europe

Commissioner says to intervene even outside territorial waters

11 May, 17:10

    (ANSAmed) - STRASBOURG, MAY 11 - Maltese authorities must respond rapidly and effectively to all distress calls that they receive regardless of whether or not the boats are found in their territorial waters, Council of Europe Human Rights Commisisoner Dunja Mijatovic wrote in a letter to Prime Minister Robert Abela on May 5.

    The letter was released to the public on Monday. Mijatovic asked in the letter for an investigation into all credible accusations of delays and lack of intervention and to act on the basis of what the investigations find.

    The commissioner also called on the Maltese government to ensure no action is taken by Malta that would result in the return to and disembarkation in Libya of persons rescued or intercepted at sea.

    ''This includes ensuring no one is returned to Libya by Maltese authorities, refraining from issuing instructions to private vessels to disembark rescued persons in Libya, and not handing over responsibility to the Libyan Coast Guard or related entities when the foreseeable consequence of this would be disembarkation in Libya," Mijatovic wrote. (ANSAmed).

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