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Ireland to take in child migrants rescued at sea

Ireland to take in child migrants rescued at sea”

The Netherlands is one of eight countries which will take in some of the 32 migrants who have been living on a boat since they were rescued from off the coast of Libya almost three weeks ago.

A migrant, part of a group of 49, reacts towards the media as he and others disembark from one of Malta's AFM Protector-class coastal patrol boats.

Joseph Muscat, prime minister of Malta, announced the details that end the deadlock that began when 32 people were rescued by the Dutch-flagged humanitarian rescue ship "Sea-Watch 3" on 22 December.

Germany, France, Portugal, the Netherlands, Ireland, Romania, Luxembourg, and Italy agreed to share 224 migrants, with Malta taking 74.

Earlier this week, Sea-Watch said some of those aboard were distraught about the stalemate, which left the boat at the mercy of rough seas for many days.

"This represents a confession of state failure, policy must not be made at the expense of people in distress", the NGO said.

Some were refusing food to protest the stalemate, and the migrants' physical and psychological health were deteriorating.

Amnesty International's Southern Europe researcher Elisa De Pieri said the time taken to reach a decision on the migrants' fate was "shameful".

EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said Wednesday that "the past weeks have not been Europe's finest hour".

The migrants have been stranded off the coast of Malta on two boats since late past year, with some suffering from dehydration and seasickness.

"We were not the responsible authority, and we were not the nearest safe port" for the two rescue vessels, Mr Muscat said.

"I am and I will remain absolutely against new [migrant] arrivals in Italy", he said on Twitter.

The deal means the 49 migrants, who have been stranded on charity-run boats amid a row over who would take them, can now disembark in Malta.

They have both been sailing back in forth in Maltese waters for weeks after Italy, Malta and other European Union countries refused to offer them a port of safety.



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