This ad hoc arrangement comes after several ships rescued stranded migrants and docked at the port of Valetta. Among the rescues were that of Sea Watch III on 22 December 2018, involving 32 people, and the Sea Eye rescue of 17 people on 29 December 2018. The Maltese Navy has, meanwhile, rescued 249 people in its territorial waters. According to the UNHCR, six people died every day trying to cross the Mediterranean in 2018.
Ad hoc resettlement pledge
Luxembourg was one of eight EU member states to offer assistance in the form of resettlement. The six people will now go through the application procedure for international protection.
According to figures published by the immigration department, the number of people applying for asylum in Luxembourg has stabilised in recent years, reaching 2,205 in 2018. Last year, the largest nationality group was Eritreans, accounting for 17.8% of applications, followed by Syrians (10.3%) and Iraqis (8.9%). Eritreans also made up the second-largest group of people who were granted international protection in 2018, with 309 applications approved.
The UNHCR estimates around 4,000 Eritreans leave the country every month, with most saying they are fleeing military service. Meanwhile, violence, drought and the threat of famine is creating a fast-growing refugee crisis in Sudan. According to Human Rights Watch, in Somalia fighting between clans and government forces and militia, coupled with drought, have left over two million people being displaced.