After being stranded at sea for 19 days, most of the 49 people rescued last December by Sea Watch and Sea Eye’s boats have now been inside the Marsa Asylum Seekers’ Detention Centre (IRS) in Malta for two months.
Anyone who remembers the sad spectacle offered by European governments that for weeks, while these women, these children, these men, were not allowed to disembark from the ships that had saved them, they negotiated their redistribution outside of any framework of legality by treating them as goods rather than as subjects of law, or as human beings.
Their fate is proof of the extent to which this practice involves the systematic violation of the fundamental rights of the persons inolved.
Since the morning of 5 March, many of those who landed in January have been on hunger strike, protesting against the de facto detention regime to which they are illegally subjected and calling for clarification of the relocation procedures that Member States are carrying out through totally arbitrary selection mechanisms.
We learn from the stories of those in Marsa that the delegations from France and Germany have excluded several people from the possibility of being transferred to these countries, on the basis of obscure reasons and without the refusal being communicated in writing, thus making it impossible to take legal action against this decision. Others, on the other hand, have had no news of their transfer and have not even had access to the first phase of this informal mechanism of an interview conducted by officials of the destination states.
It is not known what the fate of these people will be, how long their detention will last and on what basis it has been ordered, including with regard to minors without family reference figures and families with very young children.
Sea-Watch and Mediterranea Saving Humans strongly demand that this arbitrary detention be ended and that these people, after so much suffering and so many violations, finally have access to their rights and start their lives in Europe.