A network of NGOS is demanding an independent and impartial inquiry into the death of a four-year-old girl in Malta's Search and Rescue Zone.

Loujin Ahmed Nasif, from Syria, was rescued by a cargo ship along with 60 other asylum seekers, several days after the group started sending out distress signal from their wooden fishing vessel.

She was unconscious when she was pulled onboard and died of dehydration shortly afterwards.

Since Malta has a legal responsibility to coordinate the rescue of all persons found to be in distress in its Search and Rescue Zone, an independent inquiry needed to be opened into whether Malta played an active part in her death, the Malta Refugee Council pointed out in a statement on Saturday.

"In situations where a person dies under a State’s watch – such as in prison, in hospital or in apolice station – we normally expect the authorities to investigate and clarify the circumstances that led to the persons’ death," the NGOs underlined.

They added that if anyone was identified as being responsible for the person’s death, they expected them to be brought before the Courts to answer for their actions.

They also called for the authorities be transparent about what happened. 

Publicly available information on Loujin’s tragic death was conflicting, the council explained.

One version claimed Malta was alerted to the distress situation on 3 September and that no concrete action was taken to secure the lives of the persons aboard the fishing boat, the council wrote.

Another version claimed that Malta was informed on 6 September and that Malta took every step to protect all lives, including that of Loujin, the council added.

But what was certain was that Loujin did not survive the ordeal, dying of thirst in her mother’s arms, they said.

"Justice demands that Loujins’ death be properly explained. Press statements, tweets and similar statements do not live up to democtractic standards of accountability and transparency," they added.



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