Alerting the Universal Periodic Review to statelessness in Malta

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a unique process which involves a review of the human rights records of all UN Member States.

The UPR is a State-driven process, under the auspices of the Human Rights Council, which provides the opportunity for each State to declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries and to fulfil their human rights obligations.

Together with our colleagues at the European Network on Statelessness and the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion, we just submitted information to the Universal Periodic Review regarding the situation of stateless people in Malta. The UPR provides human rights NGOs with an excellent opportunity of high-level advocacy on key themes.

Our submission, largely based on the recently-launched Statelessness Index, presents an overview of the legal and policy situation whereby stateless persons in Malta are not identified and – as a consequence – are invisible and vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. The submission makes a series of recommendations, hoping these would be taken up within the UPR process and addressed to Malta in November.

Main recommendations include:

  • accede and fully implement the 1954 Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness;
  • implement a Statelessness Determination Procedure that results in a dedicated protection status associated with clear rights and support mechanisms;
  • add the categories ‘stateless’ and ‘unknown nationality’ in national census exercises;
  • refrain from detaining migrants in respect of whom a returnable country of origin has not, or cannot, be established;
  • modify the Civil Code to ensure the birth registration of children born in international waters where their registration in another country is impossible due to legal or other considerations;

Our full submission can be downloaded here.

Do you want to raise any human rights matter before the Universal Periodic Review? You’ve got until Thursday 29 March for your issues to be considered in Malta’s November session. Should you need any assistance, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us!