21. April 2020 Sabotage on boat of fleeing persons? Investigations against the Maltese Government and Coast Guard

Less than two weeks ago, people who had got into distress at sea in the Mediterranean Sea while fleeing Libya reported to the NGO Alarm Phone on the phone that they were massively threatened by a ship of the Maltese coast guard, the cable of their outboard motor was cut. Now the Maltese citizens’ movement Repubblika has filed criminal charges against Malta’s Prime Minister Abela and the crew of the ship.
The accusations against Malta had been taken up in reports in the New York Times and Der Spiegel, only public pressure prompted Malta to save the people. However, neither the coastguard nor the government made any clear statement on the accusations. Only yesterday, almost two weeks after the incident, the crew of the coast guard ship contradicted the reports because the criminal charges had become public. The alleged sabotage of boats of refugees, however, is only part of the human rights violations for which Malta alone is responsible in the last two weeks. Due to the delay in rescue operations, 12 people have lost their lives. 51 people have been taken from the Maltese search and rescue zone to Libya, where they face torture, rape and murder.
Obviously, international, human rights and ethical standards are not the standard by which Europe pursues migration policy. This is not new; with the pandemic, the EU has merely found a new justification strategy for its well-known, deadly and racist policy of isolation. The criminal charges against Malta are long overdue, human rights violations must not go unpunished! We say that rescue at sea is and remains a duty under international and human rights law, and the Corona crisis is not changing that.