Malta says migrants on board Lifeline rescue ship mainly Sudanese

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A migrant child is carried out from the charity ship Lifeline at Boiler Wharf in Senglea, in Valletta’s Grand Harbor, Malta June 27, 2018. (Reuters)
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Migrants are helped off the “MV Lifeline,” a vessel for the German charity Mission Lifeline, as it arrives in the harbor of Valletta, Malta, on June 27, 2018. (AFP)
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The “MV Lifeline,” a vessel for the German charity Mission Lifeline, arrives with 234 migrants onboard in the harbor of Valletta, Malta, on June 27, 2018. (AFP)
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The ship operated by German aid group Mission Lifeline, carrying 234 migrants, arrives at the Valletta port in Malta, after a journey of nearly a week while awaiting permission to make landfall, Wednesday, June 27, 2018. (AP)
Updated 28 June 2018

Malta says migrants on board Lifeline rescue ship mainly Sudanese

  • Malta says the migrants on board the rescue ship Lifeline were mainly from Sudan.
  • The are also Eritreans, Somalis and some from West African countries

VALLETTA: Maltese authorities said Thursday the migrants on board the rescue ship Lifeline, which docked in Malta after nearly a week stranded at sea, were mainly from Sudan.
“The nationalities so far are mostly Sudanese, there are Eritreans, also Somalis so it’s a mixed group and also some from West African countries,” Roberta Buhagiar, a representative from Malta’s interior ministry told journalists.
Lifeline, a vessel for the German charity Mission Lifeline, had been waiting for permission to enter a port for six days after rescuing 234 migrants off the coast of Libya last Thursday.
Malta finally agreed on Wednesday to let the ship dock after a deal among a group of EU states was reached to take in the migrants.
After the migrants had disembarked, “a few were taken to hospital for immediate medical attention,” Buhagiar said, while the rest were brought to a reception center near the country’s capital Valletta.
She said they would stay there pending medical clearance to begin interviews on the asylum procedure.
On Wednesday, Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said the migrants on board would be processed and “genuine asylum seekers will be afforded protection,” while “procedures will be started immediately to return those that do not qualify... in accordance with law.”
Buhagiar added that “in the coming days, we will expect member state delegations to be visiting Malta in order to agree how we are going to manage the situation and actually take some of them.”
The co-founder of Mission Lifeline Axel Steier told AFP Thursday that he believed “a very, very high percentage” of those on board qualified for asylum in the European Union.
On Wednesday Muscat said the Lifeline ship would be impounded in order to carry out a full investigation into its legal status and actions on the night of the rescue.
Mission Lifeline has come under fire from EU leaders, who accuse it of contravening international law by rescuing the migrants when the Libyan coast guard was already intervening.
“The captain was questioned (late Wednesday) as part of the investigation and then returned to the ship,” Steier told AFP, adding that he had returned to police headquarters again Thursday.
“We followed all the instructions of the authorities except the one saying to bring the people back to Libya,” he said.
Lifeline argued that the migrants would not be safe in Libya, where they have faced abuse in holding centers, and that returning them there would breach international refugee law.


Australia plans to censor extremist online content

Updated 26 August 2019

Australia plans to censor extremist online content

  • The country will create a 24/7 Crisis Coordination Center for monitoring and censorship
  • Australia earlier set up a task force with tech giants to address spread of extremist material online

SYDNEY: Australia plans to block websites to stop the spread of extreme content during “crisis events,” the country’s prime minister has said.
Speaking from the G7 in Biarritz Sunday, Scott Morrison said the measures were needed in response to the deadly attack on two New Zealand mosques in March.
The live-streamed murder of 51 worshippers “demonstrated how digital platforms and websites can be exploited to host extreme violent and terrorist content,” he said in a statement.
“That type of abhorrent material has no place in Australia, and we are doing everything we can to deny terrorists the opportunity to glorify their crimes, including taking action locally and globally.”
Under the measures, Australia’s eSafety Commissioner would work with companies to restrict access to domains propagating terrorist material.
A new 24/7 Crisis Coordination Center will be tasked with monitoring terror-related incidents and extremely violent events for censorship.
In the wake of the Christchurch attack, Australia set up a task force with global tech giants like Facebook, YouTube, Amazon, Microsoft and Twitter to address the spread of extremist material online.
It is not yet clear how the measures will be enforced. Morrison has previously suggested that legislation may come if technology companies do not cooperate.