Malta Refugee Council Statement on World Refugee Day 2022
Malta in 2022 offers an extremely hostile environment to refugees reaching our shores. The Government refuses to explain why they are abandoned out at sea, either not rescued or not allowed to safely disembark. Hundreds are detained in squalid conditions and on dubious legal grounds in what international human rights bodies described as “institutional mass neglect”. New detention rules dramatically limit their possibility of receiving needed information and support. Measures adopted by the Government in eagerness to speed up an under-resourced asylum procedure limit the opportunity for persons to fully explain why they are in need of protection, whilst the care provided to the most vulnerable is – at most – basic. Dialogue between the Government and civil society, including refugee-led groups, has been effectively closed.
Never before has refugee protection been so challenging.
On World Refugee Day 2022 the Malta Refugee Council appeals to Malta to be place of shelter for those men, women and children forced to flee their homes. Whether fleeing the war in Ukraine, discriminatory laws in Nigeria or ethnic conflict in South Sudan, all refugees share the same need for safety, protection and dignity.
What does detention mean? What is freedom?
This is how we approached the project ‘Detained Narratives’. We wanted to give a voice to those people Malta chooses to lock up in squalid living conditions, in a system that in many cases is illegal.
Three young men agreed to talk about their experiences. Many others were too traumatised. Most were afraid.
Their voices expose Malta’s immigration detention regime. Concise yet powerful, the three clips we are disseminating provide a glimpse into the lived experiences of young men detained in Safi Barracks under a policy widely condemned by international, European and Maltese human rights bodies.
We are sharing the videos on our FB, Twitter and Insta pages. They may also be viewed on our YouTube Channel as also our advocacy page #ThereAreAlternatives.
Do not hesitate to contact us for further information.
On Monday 13 June we sent the Home Affairs Ministry and the Opposition our comments on proposals to amend Malta’s asylum regime.
Bill No. 2, the International Protection (Amendment) Bill, was presented in Parliament on 7 May 2022. At the time of writing these Technical Comments, the Bill was before Parliament, yet we received no invitation to discuss or consult.
We appeal to the Ministry and to Parliament to promote a consultative approach to law-making, particularly in situations involving highly technical matters that require in-depth knowledge and experience working in the relevant fields of law, such as EU asylum law.
Our comments (.pdf) are available here.
We find ourselves extremely troubled over a series of recent cases that were reported to us, which have, in turn, forced us to issue this statement.
For those of you who are not aware, PEP or (post-exposure prophylaxis) is a medicine given to prevent HIV after a possible exposure. This medication is to be taken right away and is only effective for a 72-hour window. It is a vital medicine.
This medicine used to be stocked at the Mater Dei Pharmacy for use by the Accident and Emergency Department at Mater Dei and would be given to patients who desired it at a cost. However, it has recently come to our attention that Mater Dei Pharmacy is no longer stocking it – this is extremely worrying, to say the least.
In the context of our project 2incING, we are looking for an IT/web design expert.
The project aims to promote and support refugee and migrant participation in the design and implementation of integration policies. The project is a partnership of 4 civil society organisations (Croatia, Greece, Malta and Netherlands), 1 alliance (Belgium) and 1 university (Netherlands).
It is a 2-year project, starting in early 2022.
Who do we need?
We want to engage the services of an IT/web design expert. The expert will be responsible for creating an online an interactive map of refugee and migrant advocates all over Europe. It will be hosted on our site and provide needed information on advocates. It will give visibility to advocates and support their networking and engagement.