Migrants who were rescued by the Sea-Watch-3 and Sea-Eye  disembark in Floriana, Malta, 9 January 2019 | Photo: EPA/DOMENIC AQUILINA
Migrants who were rescued by the Sea-Watch-3 and Sea-Eye disembark in Floriana, Malta, 9 January 2019 | Photo: EPA/DOMENIC AQUILINA

The 49 rescued migrants and refugees say that they are hoping to find "rights and work" in Europe. "We will manage to survive because we know how to adapt to anything," a young Algerian told us.

A place where they can find "rights and work" is what the 49 migrants and refugees rescued by the NGO ships Sea-Watch-3 and Sea-Eye say they want. They were stuck at sea for 19 and 12 days, respectively, while several European countries were in negotiation over who would take them in, before Malta allowed the ships to dock. Several countries have now announced that they will offer places to these refugees and migrants, among them Germany and possibly Italy. 


Italy may be hosting a Libyan woman in one of the centers of the Waldensian Church. The woman left Tripoli with her six-year-old son, fleeing from her violent husband, 

'I just want a bit of peace' 

The 32-year-old holds an engineering degree and opted to risk death in the hope that she could give her son a better life, she told ANSA in fluent English. She said that she fled the war, but that she also left because she knew that in Europe, she would have the right to disobey a man without being in danger of being killed.  

"If I had stayed there, sooner or later I would have been killed and I don't know who would have taken care of him," she said looking at her son. "The dinghies on which we had been trying to leave Libya since September sunk twice, and many people that I had met died in those days. When that didn't happen, it was a Libyan patrol boat that stopped us and took us back. But this time, luckily, I and my son made it." 

"I just want a bit of peace," she said. "I have studied and I want very much to work." 

'We are out of the herd and in the new world' 

The people on the boats not only mentioned violence and war as a reason for leaving their home, but also hunger and desperate poverty. Many were horrificly mistreated on their way to Europe - slavery, time in prison, mental and physical abuse - in particular in Libya. 

"We will manage to survive because we know how to adapt to anything," a young Algerian farmer said. "If I think back to a few months ago when I was in a camp in Sabratha," a 20-year-old Nigerian said. "I just can't believe that I will now have the chance to go to northern Europe and work. I know that another life awaits me here." 

Some of the migrants rescued by the Sea-Watch-3 and Sea-Eye said that they had formed deep friendships and are now hoping to find each other in the same EU country. This is a way to share a journey that has affected them for life, one said, adding that "in prisons, dinghies and ships we were sheep. Now everything has changed. We  [have escaped] the herd. We are in a new world." 
 

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