Neil was awarded his law degree in 2001, having written his L.L.D. dissertation on the role of the Prosecutor before the International Criminal Court. During the two years immediately following his graduation he successfully established and managed a legal translation unit, the main task of which was to prepare Malta for its upcoming membership with the European Union. At the same time, he worked in EU funding and family law.
During this time Neil headed Amnesty International’s Malta branch, successfully advocating for Malta’s ratification of the first Optional Protocol to the United Nations anti-torture Convention (CAT). In fact, Malta was the first State to ratify the Protocol. Keen to pursue his human rights interests, Neil attended a train the trainers course organised by the Council of Europe and this proved to be the turning point, confirming that his interest require more than part-time voluntary work.
Upon his return, Neil quit his job and returned to his studies. He successfully completed his Mediterranean Masters in Human Rights and Democratisation in 2004, writing his dissertation at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law on the positive duty of states to prevent human rights violations.
In 2005, having just completed his Masters course, Neil was engaged by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to act as Liaison Officer between its Rome office and Malta. At this time, Malta was experiencing the arrival by boat of hundreds of refugees leaving Libya in an attempt to seek refuge in Europe. These were difficult days: negative public opinion was almost violent, just a handful of civil society organisations, one of Europe’s harshest detention policies, no life prospects for refugees in Malta, a struggling public administration and no real UNHCR office.
During the 4 years he spent at UNHCR, eventually as Head of Office, Neil focused on building UNHCR’s Malta presence, engaging in heavy advocacy efforts with the Maltese authorities, supporting NGOs and promoting a rights-based discourse and approach to migration and asylum.
Neil left UNHCR in 2009, wishing to establish himself as an independent legal and academic expert and also keen to contribute to building future generations of human rights advocates. He established, and continues to lecture, International Human Rights Law within the Faculty of Laws, and lectured other topics such as European Union Migration Law and Policy, Mediterranean Migration, Human Rights for Social Workers (on-going) and Regional Systems and Instruments of Human Rights Protection (also on-going).
During this time, Neil researched and drafted several technical reports including on interception at sea of refugees and migrants and the ‘Left to die boat’ for the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly, gender identity and marriage equality for the Malta Gay Rights Movement. It was during this period that the idea of establishing a generic advocacy-based NGO was born and in 2011 aditus foundation was born.
As the organisation’s Director Neil is responsible for its overall management, and also actively involved in most of its projects and activities. He represents the organisation in its external relations, including through extensive media presence nationally and internationally.
Neil is Project Manager for the aditus’ FRANET Team. He is one of the Malta Coordinators of the European Legal Network on Asylum (ELENA), and member of the Academic network for legal studies on immigration & asylum in Europe (Odysseus Network). In 2014 he was awarded an LGBTI Community Award for his work in advancing LGBTI rights in Malta, and in 2015 elected to the Board ECRE to represent the Members in the Mediterranean Region.
Neil describes himself as a funny and hyper-energetic person. He is happily married, enjoys travelling and (quite rarely) practices yoga. He is the proud father of Gonçalo and Martim, as also their furry brothers Dominic and Harry.
His CV can be downloaded here.
Dr. Carla Camilleri is a Maltese lawyer specialising in European Law and she is Assistant Director at aditus foundation. She was awarded her law degree in 2003 further to submitting her dissertation on The Effect and Status of the Charter of Fundamental Freedoms of the European Union and in 2004 she completed her Magister Juris in EU and Comparative law, passed with distinction, and published her dissertation entitled Transparency in the WTO’s Agreement on Government Procurement: A Comparison Between the Effects on the EU & Developing and Least Developed Countries. Besides her work at aditus, Carla is also a casual lecturer at the University of Malta in the European & Comparative Law Department and lecturers LLM students in the EU Area of Freedom, Security and Justice Law.
In her work at aditus foundation, Carla carries out advocacy work in the field of migration, LGBTIQ+ rights, access to justice and governance issues. She was also one of the legal experts in the FRANET team for Malta between 2014 and 2018, and carried out research services in the fields of migration, victims’ rights and disability rights.
Carla acted as company secretary and assisted St. Andrew’s Scots Church in setting up and licencing the Malta Microfinance Ltd which is Malta’s first financial institution licenced by the MFSA that grants microloans to migrants and disadvantaged persons in Malta
In 2018, Carla authored the Compendium of Asylum Jurisprudence, Law and Policy – A Collection of Maltese Asylum Case-Law and Access to Legal Assistance in Malta: Mapping the Availability of Legal Assistance for the Protection of Fundamental Rights in Malta. Furthermore in the course of her work, she has publishes a number of reports which include: A Way Forward for a National Integration Policy in Malta – A Report on National Integration Policies in Malta and she acted as research assistant with Neil on MGRM’s Position Paper on Marriage Equality – Advocating the Best Options of Legislating for Same Sex Couples & Families in Malta. She also published a paper on Discrimination on Grounds of Sexual Orientation as part of the project Anti-Discrimination, Inclusion and Equality in Malta coordinated by the European Documentation and Research Centre.
In addition, Carla also provides information, advice and legal services to a number of clients in aditus’ Pro Bono Unit in a number of sectors, which include migration and asylum, citizenship, LGBTI rights with a focus on transgender children, anti-discrimination and employment rights.
Carla lives in the quiet town of Rabat with her husband, two kids and assorted flora and fauna.
Claire is a French human rights lawyer with particular expertise in the field of refugee law. She has worked with several French and international human rights NGOs such as Amnesty international. She has also spent 8 years working for the French Office for Refugees and Stateless Persons (OFPRA) as a Protection Officer and as a Legal Officer.
Claire is one of the members of our Pro Bono Unit, focusing on asylum applications and appeals. She also provides research input to other projects and activities, drafting the Malta report for the Asylum Information Database (AIDA).
Kasia is graduated with a master in international relation studies at University of Economics in Wroclaw, Poland. Specialised in international trading, she worked for more than seven years in different business-oriented organisations in the areas of sales, administration, logistics and project coordination.
She likes to travel and is interested in new cultures, which so far led her to live for one year in Sardegna as a scholarship from studies, and three years in Accra working with local companies.
In Malta she decided to apply her background and join civil society organisations, and is our Programmes Officer.
Matthew is 19 years old and currently studying to get his Matsec A’ levels. In the future they aspire to become a social worker and specialise on marginalised groups.
They are one of the human rights interns in our empowering project. The internship is 10 months long and during this time they will acquire experiences working in a human rights NGO. In the past they took part in two missionary experiences, in Izabal, Guatemala and Iquitos, Perù.
Rimaz Bitrou is a Libyan national who has been living in Malta since 2010. She is 19 years old, which means she spent most of her life here in Malta 🙂 . She is a University of Malta health sciences student, however she’s always been interested in human right and organisational work. She’s happy to be with us as an intern and can’t wait to have more and more experiences in this field and share them with you!
Rimaz’s internship with us is part of our empowering project.
Christine Dimech is a 21-year old Law Student at the University of Malta, going onto her fourth and final year of LL.B Studies. Subsequent to the completion of her Diploma, she intends on continuing her studies by means of advancing onto a Masters in Advocacy.
She is yet to decide her specific legal specialisation. However, she is primarily interested in issues concerning human rights. Her concern for human rights has been at the forefront of her passions and she eventually wishes to pursue a career in this area.
In her free time, she enjoys doing anything related to the performing arts; be it performing or watching a musical! She is very excited to continue expanding her legal knowledge and contributing to the work done by the aditus foundation!
Christine joins us as a Legal Intern, contributing to our Pro Bono Unit and other projects.
Diane Dimech is a 21-year old student who is currently reading Law at the University of Malta. Heading to her fourth and final year of the Bachelor of Laws, her primary area of interest points towards human rights. She therefore strives to work in this field in the near future, and aiding her with preparing for such is the writing of her LL.B dissertation which targets a specific marginalised group. She has always been vocal when it comes to social issues, particularly protecting black lives, the LGBTIQ+ community and immigrants’ rights, amongst various others.
In her free time, Diane fairly enjoys being creative; from musical theatre to drawing, she is an avid fan of anything which requires even an ounce of imagination! Joining aditus as a Legal Intern, she cannot wait to amplify her level of legal knowledge when it comes to human rights.
Diane joins us as a Legal Intern, contributing to our Pro Bono Unit and other projects.