“Seize their boat and sink it!” Statement on the Unacceptable Comments by a Public Official

JEF Malta has consistently fought for European values, among them inclusion, tolerance, solidarity and respect of human rights and human dignity.

The global COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light two opposing facets of our society. On the one hand, we have witnessed unprecedented levels of national and European solidarity, people coming together, volunteering their skills and time for the betterment of society. We’ve seen front-liners: health workers, shop assistants, pharmacists, delivery persons and countless others ensuring communities can continue to function by placing themselves and their loved ones at risk. We’ve seen businesses divert their production to essential PPE, educators refuse to give up their vocation, and teams of health workers crossing borders to lend a hand.

On the other hand, we have witnessed a rise in nationalist rhetoric, in distrust of “the other,” and attempts to disguise xenophobic comments as a concern for public health. JEF Malta unequivocally condemns the comments made by the head of the Foundation for Social Welfare Services and demands that those charged with protecting the welfare of society be held, if not to a higher standard, then to one of human decency. Furthermore, JEF Malta deplores recent decisions by European governments to close ports and cut off support to those stranded in our seas.

As Maltese and Europeans we have an obligation not only to international law, but to tolerance and inclusivity. Despite the situation we face, there remains room for solidarity. We ask Europeans governments to not sow further division and take inspiration from those in society who remain selfless and fearless. This is what shall see us through this crisis.

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