Friday, 17th January, at 17:30, at St. Catherine of Alexandria church in Valletta, the International Organization for Migration Mission in Malta invites to a free concert in memory of migrants who have lost their lives in the Mediterranean and elsewhere in search for a better life. The concert will be opened with a common prayer and performed by the Maria Assunta Choir.
More than 20,000 people have lost their lives in the Mediterranean in the last 20 years. 2,300 died in 2011, more than 700 in 2013. Lately, news on tragedies at sea, with people losing their lives while fleeing from wars, persecution, poverty or hunger or while simply seeking better opportunities for themselves and their loved ones have become routine.
“However, it is important to understand the real meaning of this humanitarian emergency: it is made up not only of the numbers attending to cross, but rather of the men, women and children who undertake the perilous journey on unseaworthy vessels operated by smuggling and trafficking syndicates, and perish along the way,” – said Mr. Jose Angel Oropeza, Director, IOM Coordinating Office for the Mediterranean, Chief of Mission for Italy and Malta, and Representative to the Holy See. “Far too many lives have been lost, far too many hopes and wishes have vanished in the sea separating North Africa from Europe” – he added.
Through the concert, IOM aims in particular at perpetuating the memory of the more than 600 migrants who died in the recent shipwrecks of 3rd and 11th November 2013. IOM expresses its sympathy with the families of the migrants who have lost their lives in the Mediterranean and elsewhere, and stands in solidarity with all those who have been affected by these tragedies.
Established in 1951, and currently counting 151 member states, IOM is the leading intergovernmental organization in the field of migration dedicated to promoting humane and orderly migration for the benefit of all.
In Malta, IOM has been actively supporting the Government in migration management since 2007, through assisted voluntary return and reintegration in countries of origin, resettlement of refugees to the US and European countries, counter-trafficking initiatives, integration projects addressing both refugees and Third Country Nationals.