aditus hails a victory for the right to seek asylum

aditus welcomes the Abdulle and Nur Constitutional Court Judgement as a powerful victory of the right of all persons to enjoy the fundamental human right to seek asylum.

The Court declared that in returning the applicants directly to Libya without giving them the opportunity to seek asylum in Malta, their rights to be free from torture and to have access to an effective remedy were violated.  These two rights are protected by the Maltese Constitution, the European Convention on Human Rights and a number of other international and regional human rights instruments.

Our Constitutional Court clearly and strongly stressed that shoving documents in English into the faces of asylum-seekers without informing them of their rights and of the relevant procedures is simply unacceptable.  We’re very happy with this judgement because it is a reminder that human rights and their legal protection are not the prerogative of certain classes of people but are to be enjoyed by all.”

In the course of the proceedings the applicants had given vivid descriptions of the consequence of their forcible return to Libya.  They were arrested by the Libyan authorities, repeatedly tortured, sentenced without trial and eventually dumped in the desert.  The Maltese government argued that it was unaware of such atrocities happening in Libya.

Civil society has been reporting gross human rights violations at the hands of the former Libyan dictatorship for years.  Sadly, European governments chose to ignore this information and resort to measures that pushed back asylum-seekers to unsafe territories.  In this respect, the judgement’s rejection of Malta’s apparent unawareness of Libya’s treatment of sub-Sahara Africans and its embracing of reports by non-governmental organisations is a great statement.

aditus further highlights the judgement’s financial implications.  If Maltese tax payers are unhappy with paying this compensation, then they should immediately insist that the government pulls its socks up and simply stops violating the human rights of asylum-seekers and migrants.”  

Yet aditus notes that the real price for these violations was paid by the victims themselves, the applicants who suffered atrocious torture in Libya and the other Somali nationals who were forcibly deported by Malta but who were not lucky enough to survive the ordeal.