Dr. Neil Falzon, Director
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 Paul, Dominic and Harry, 3 adorable cats.
His CV can be downloaded here.
Dr. Carla Camilleri, Assistant Director
Dr. Carla Camilleri is a Maltese lawyer specialising in European Law and she currently works as a Legal Officer at aditus foundation, a voluntary & non-profit organisation established with a mission to monitor, act and report on access to fundamental human rights in Malta. She 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. Carla also acts as company secretary on 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 her work at aditus foundation, Carla carries out advocacy work in the field of migration, integration and anti-discrimination legislation and also LGBTI rights. As part of her work, Carla has published 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 page 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, LGBTI rights, anti-discrimination and employment rights.
Sarianna Mileski, Information Officer
Sarianna moved to Malta from Toronto, Canada, in the summer of 2012, having decided to seek what fortunes might arise from her Maltese citizenship. She has been the Information Officer at aditus foundation since November 2012. In that capacity, she is charged with ensuring the organisation’s visibility and the integrity of its message.
Sarianna’s professional background is in editing and French-English translation for media, government and the corporate and non-profit sectors. She has also worked extensively in law, fashion, and the performing arts.
Claire Delom, Legal Officer
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.
Antonella Sgobbo, Programmes Officer
Antonella is a Project Coordinator and Expert in managing projects focused on education, sanitation and internally displaced persons in both domestic and international contexts.
After her Bachelor in International and Diplomatic Sciences she acquired a Master’s degree in International Cooperation and Local Development at the School of Political Sciences in University of Bologna Italy. During her academic years her passion for theatre brought her to a strong education in both directing and acting.
She started her career focusing on health, education and promotion of socio-economic empowerment in rural communities in Sub-Saharan Africa. For five years she held various positions as Project Manager in Education and Health in Tanzania, Zambia and Mozambique, providing communities with an increased access to education and contributing to the affirmation of cultural rights.
Back in Europe, Antonella developed her expertise in aiding marginalized individuals and communities through programmes involving arts project cycle management. Aiming at youth to explore the potential of arts as a strong catalyst for social change, for four years she worked as an actress and theatre trainer in juvenile and adults’ detention centres of Bologna. She was responsible for many activities including assisting directors and promoting plays but also acting, creative-writing, dancing. Most importantly she was a tutorial figure for youth at risk of social deviance and unaccompanied minors in a daily work to create scenes, plays, designing and building stages.
Antonella is our Programmes Officer, also filling the role of Secretariat Officer for the Platform of Human Rights Organisations in Malta.
Marina Kopacz, Legal Intern
Marina is a Polish law graduate. During her studies she specialised in Constitutional Law and human rights, preparing her Masters thesis in these areas. Marina participated in the Erasmus programme at the University in Nice, where she broadened her knowledge in International and European Law.
While trying to expand her theoretical knowledge, Marina also gained practical understanding of the subject during the internship at the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as in Helsinki Foundation of Human Rights in Warsaw.
At aditus, Marina is involved in human rights research and analysis, together with direct involvement in a number of projects.
Patrick O'Connor, Legal Intern
Patrick is an Australian Human Rights Lawyer who has worked for major NGO’s in Australia prominently promoting the rights of displaced persons through advocacy in each step of the refugee determination process. Through experience working with refugees Patrick has an excellent understanding of Refugee and International Law and the key knowledge and understanding of government policies and laws towards asylum-seekers.
Patrick has studied both Law and Psychology and has previously worked as a Psychologist and General Manager of a major research company in the private sector that focuses on improving employee engagement and cultural change in leading workplaces.
Patrick has also worked as a board member and director of a football club in Australia and has a strong sporting background having played football at a professional level.
At aditus, Patrick is part of our Pro Bono Team working on client issues as also refugee policy and related research.
Emma Clark, Intern
Emma is a Canadian student currently in the process of completing a degree in Life Science and Health Studies. Academically, Emma’s focus has typically been on how the social environemnt influences the health of vulnerable populations, with a specific interest in health as a human rights. Emma is part of the Loran Scholarship Programme, which encourages students to seek international experience in the sectorsof community development, enterprise, as well as public policy.
Previously, Emma has interned in Varanasi (India), with an NGO working to stop second generation prostitution and sex trafficking as well as in Vancouver with a start-up company, LifeBooster, working on creating ergonomic technology that would improve workplace health and safety.
At aditus, Emma is involved in several projects and research activities, with a focus on our community-oriented initiatives.
Kyra Farrugia, Legal Intern
Kyra is a Maltese law student currently in her final year of studies She recently wrote her Doctor of Laws (LL.D.) thesis in the area of EU asylum law and policy. Kyra took part on the Erasmus exchange programme in Brussels, where she was able to broaden her knowledge of EU public law and international law. Following her Erasmus exchange, Kyra was selected to participated in a five-month traineeship at the European Commission (Brussels).
At aditus, Kyra is part of our Pro Bono Team working on client issues as well as carrying out research in the area of refugee law and policy, and human rights generally.