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NEWS | Wednesday, 04 February 2009

‘Usual procedures’ for migrants, ministry says

A spokesperson for the Ministry for Justice and Home Affairs has declared that “the usual procedures” will be followed should any of the 262 migrants who landed in Marsaxlokk on Sunday apply for asylum.
The statement contradicts unnamed government sources who on Monday were quoted saying that most of the migrants, who arrived on a large wooden boat, would be repatriated.
“Your sources are incorrect,” the spokesperson told MaltaToday with reference to the claims of repatriation.
Although this was one of the largest arrivals in years, unusually most of the immigrants do not hail from Sub-Saharan African countries.
Some claimed to be Kurdish while others were said to be coming from Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Egypt, Libya, Pakistan and India. The group was said to include 30 Nigerians.
Asylum claims are considered to be “manifestly unfounded” if they concern citizens of the EU and the EEA, the USA, Australia, Iceland, Norway, Croatia, Benin, India, Botswana, Jamaica, Brazil, Japan, Canada, Liechtenstein, Cape Verde, New Zealand, Chile, Senegal, Costa Rica, Switzerland, Gabon, Ghana, and Uruguay.
The immigrants reached the shoreline at about 6am on Sunday and tried to escape. About 35 of these were intercepted within minutes but others are still at large.
The arrivals included seven women and two young Kurdish girls aged six and four. One woman on board was found to be pregnant and was immediately taken away in an ambulance for medical attention.


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