Over 70 migrants seeking refuge in Malta or Italy jumped overboard while waiting for permission to disembark in on the Italian coast.
Open Arms, a Spanish charity, claimed that more than 70 people jumped into the water off the coast of Palermo while waiting for instructions for disembarkation.
They said that the people grew desperate after repeated refusals for disembarkation in Malta.
“Some countries pervert agreements and human rights,” Open Arms said.
All who jumped overboard were rescued by Italian authorities.
The Italian coast guard has transferred two pregnant women, and one of their husbands, on to dry land for medical assistance while the rest remain on board.
Malta’s government has remained stubborn on the issue, insisting it is unable to take in any more migrants and refugees, and that it’s up to the EU to implement a system for those rescued by charities or merchant ships.
After repeated #Malta refusals and #Italia reporting the situation of maximum vulnerability of some rescued people, more than 70 people jumped into the water off Palermo while we awaited instructions for disembarkation. Some countries pervert agreements and human rights. https://t.co/BUfeoBAEtT
— Open Arms ENG (@openarms_found) September 17, 2020
The issue surrounding migration has gathered steam in Malta with a petition calling for an end to allegation migration garnering more than 40,000 signatures. Mayors across Malta have also flagged issues with a lack of a long-term plan.
According to the UN’s refugee agency in Malta, a total of 1,699 people were rescued at sea and disembarked in the country throughout the first six months of 2020.
This translates to a 33% increase in arrivals when comparing figures of the same period last year, despite Malta’s closure of ports from April to June to fight COVID-19.
Meanwhile, there are continued tensions within the detention and open centres across the islands, with escapes, riots, and protests growing more regular.
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