We have just published our Annual Report 2021. The Report covers all our activities throughout the year, giving an overview of projects, advocacy initiatives, publications, legal work and internal issues.
If you have any questions or would like to reach out to see how you could support our 2022 and further activities, just get in touch.
2021 was a year of action for aditus foundation…and our 10th birthday!
Following the severe disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, our operations were finally able to switch from emergency support to our regular in-depth services. Throughout the pandemic, we were faced with very different needs from the communities we usually provide our serivies to: unemployment, lack of documentation, poverty, homelessness, hunger, and very high levels of mental health problems. Not being an organisation providing social welfare services, we were initially ill-equipped to adjusting the way we worked and the kind of support we could provide. Yet the need for legal information and support remain strong, and we were able to network effectively with our partners to ensure quick and efficient referrals coupled with provision of those legal services that people still needed. Our (on-going) European Social Fund project, ‘Documentation = Employability’ was in face born of the realisation that assistance to secure ofifical documents is crucial for persons desperate to break out of the poverty shadow.
As we resumed our more regular activities, we were also able to expand our legal team. In recent years, the Government has effectively closed most of its doors to our repeated requests for dialogue. We are barred from discussing imporant legal and policy issues that affect hundreds, if not thousands, of people. Never before has civil soceity been so removed from Government’s decision-making, and never before have human rights been in such a terrible state. We remain of the conviction that a functioning democracy relies on the strength of all its pillars, including a free and independnet media and active civil society…including when these are expressing dissenting or critical opinions.
Importantly, we look back at these first 10 years as an important lesson on the vulnerability and frailty of our human rights, especially of those socieities deem unworthy.
Yet we remain inspired by the strength and resilience of those who, despite all odds, stand up to oppression demanding justice and accountability.Neil Falzon, Director
Our expanded legal team is making up for this impact vacuum by converting our dialogue to legal action. Whilst we will always prioritse dialogue with Government as the best tool of engagement, where this is impossible or where this fails, then our mission calls us to take our cases to the Courts. Throughout 2021 our expanded legal team stepped up aditus foundation’s litigation activities, taking Government to Court over those issues where we feel insitutional change is uurgently needed. We filed numerous cases to release persons from illegal detention, with most being successful in shaming a detention policy that violates all rules in the law books. We approached the European Court of Human Rights to protect the rights of a refugee who was not given the chance to properly present his request for protection. This, following similar complaints filed with the European Commission due to Malta’s violation of its EU law obligations.
With a stronger and more present legal team, Carla and I were more able to focus on advocacy initiatives. Often requiring long-term planning, many of our advocacy goals require the involvement of several partners and move in small, gradual steps. Anyone working in strategy knows how important it is to undertake in-depth planning exercises before embarking on such initiatives: what financial and non-financial resources are needed? What are our goals and objectives? What messaging tools should we rely on? Which opportunities should we be latching onto? Who do we need to address? What partnerships should we be establishing?
In a broader sense, these are also the questions we are asking oursevles on our 10th birthday. From a living room in Birkirkara to a buzzing office in Ħamrun, aditus foundation has grown to be a key actor in Malta. It is with great pride that we look back at the past 10 years and map our path of growth. These were 10 years that saw Malta race to the top of Europe’s ranking for LGBTIQ+ rights and introduce much-awaited national policies on integration and anti-racism. Yet we’ve also seen Malta take several steps backwards in the way it treats migrants and refugees: rising numbers of people dying at sea; a farcical yet atrocious use of immigration detention; an ever-weakning asylum procedure; and a succession of policies pushing people into poverty and destitution.
Our first 10 years saw us build solid relationships with partners and stakeholders, also establishing a reputable and strong public voice. Importantly, we look back at these first 10 years as an important lesson on the vulnerability and frailty of our human rights, especially of those socieities deem unworthy. Yet we remain inspired by the strength and resilience of those who, despite all odds, stand up to oppression demanding justice and accountability.
These are extremely challenging times for human rights worldwide. Not only are we witnessing the rise of formal and informal far-right groups and leaders, but we are also acutely aware of the challenges we face as NGOs in countering inflammatory discourse that pervades all forms of media. Now, more than ever, human rights NGOs must seek new ways of transmitting the values and principles that should form the basis of our societies and nations. This is why, in the coming years aditus foundation will be exploring more community-based and relationship-based forms of operating where we will try to move away from short-lived projects to a more sustainable and sustained engagement with the communities that needs us, and those that can support us.