A Forum Exploring Safe and Legal Alternatives to the Maritime Migration Route
On 27th of March, MOAS hosted the second edition of ‘MOASxChange’, a forum dedicated to the migration phenomenon. This year, experts in the field of migration discussed Humanitarian Corridors and other safe and legal alternatives to the deadly maritime route. The debate was divided across two panel sittings; ‘The Policy & Political Environment Surrounding Migration in 2017’ and ‘Humanitarian Corridors and the Role of Civil Society.’
Highlights from the event included Alganesh Fessaha using the testimony of the refugees she works with to foreground how crucial humanitarian corridors are in preventing people from dying in the desert and in the sea, while the President of Malta called for a global spirit of political will to ensure that humanitarian corridors are implemented. Cesare Giacomo Zucconi outlined the Community of Sant Egidio’s experience of creating humanitarian corridors, and the willingness of Italian civil society response in welcoming and hosting their beneficiaries. Oliverio Forti of Caritas Italy highlighted that while humanitarian corridors are not the overall solution they send a message to governments that EU and global migration policies must change. Jeff Crisp of the Refugee Studies Centre encouraged the international community to look back on previous successful humanitarian corridor initiatives, including the Vietnam crisis, to use the lessons learnt to craft new advocacy strategies, while in a video message Mario Giro, Italian Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, stated his conviction that humanitarian corridors ‘shall become a humanitarian practice’. Dr Simon Busuttil, Leader of the Opposition of Malta concluded the event by stressing the need for governments to empower civil society to continue its underestimated efforts in this field.
The event also marked the official launch of a new migration research and information platform, Xchange Foundation, and a tour of MOAS’ vessel, the Phoenix, ahead of its mission launch in April.
Kahin Ismail, UNHCR Representative in Malta said, “We need to focus on the most vulnerable individuals but also to open up these [legal] avenues and replicate them where we can in examples and practices that worked elsewhere in the world. We also need to encourage governments to open up these avenues because there is resistance, due to the “unknown factor”. If you show some [positive] examples, maybe this will encourage countries and communities to accept these people.”
“Safe and legal routes are no longer a dream. They are an implementable reality and the logical next step to mitigate the unnecessary and devastating loss of life we are constantly witnessing at sea. As we enter our fourth year on the front lines of the maritime crisis addressing its devastating effects, the time to enact Humanitarian Corridors is now”, said MOAS Co-Founder and Director Regina Catrambone.
Highlights from the event including talking points, quotes and video/audio can all be viewed here.
Link to photos: https://we.tl/epx7jsm2Wp
The event was opened by Her Excellency Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, the President of Malta and included a blessing by His Grace Charles Scicluna, Archbishop of Malta. The panel, moderated by Marina Lalovic of Rai Radio3, included Oliviero Forti– Head of Migration, Caritas Italy, Cesare Giacomo Zucconi– General Secretary, Comunità di Sant’Egidio, Kahin Ismail– Representative in Malta for UNHCR, Dr Alganesc Fesseha – Founder, Gandhi Association and Dr Jeffrey Crisp – Research Associate, Oxford Refugee Studies Centre / Associate Fellow in International Law, Chatham House.
MOAS is a Malta-based registered charity dedicated to preventing the loss of life by providing professional search-and-rescue services along the world’s deadliest border crossing – the sea.
Originally founded as a private initiative in 2014, MOAS was the first NGO to set sail into the Mediterranean with the aim of rescuing migrants and refugees who were making the perilous journey from Libya to Italy. Since then, MOAS has grown into an international organization that has rescued and assisted over 33,000 men, women and children in the Central Mediterranean and Aegean Seas. Currently, MOAS is planning the launch of its 2017 Search & Rescue mission in the Central Med.