Malta’s human rights commitments to the United Nations Universal Periodic Review (UPR)

Last November Malta’s human rights profile came under the spotlight after the United Nation’s Human Rights Council submitted its review on the country as part of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). The Council’s Working Group formulated a number of recommendations for Malta to observe in order to improve the implementation and enjoyment of human rights for all.

A number of Maltese NGOs including the Platform of Human Rights NGOs in Malta (PHROM), aditus foundation and the National Youth Council were also given the stage during the UPR’s pre-session to contribute a list of recommendations they deemed necessary for the country to implement. More about the session can be found here. The pre-session was organised by the NGO UPR-Info.

Malta has already supported a number of recommendations, summarised below.  Other recommendations have yet to receive support and Malta has until March 2019 to provide its final response to the recommendations.

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Less worthy, less human. Joint NGO Statement on the treatment of Turkish workers in Malta

We are deeply concerned at recent reports on the importation of Turkish nationals to work on a number of major construction projects. It is upsetting to read that hundreds of men will be housed in metal containers or similar make-shift structures and paid the lowest possible rates in return for what is extremely tough and strenuous work.   

Under no circumstances can metal containers be considered humane treatment, and the refugee centres in Ħal Far provide ample evidence of the severe impact such living conditions have on a person’s physical and mental health. For too long, Malta has been on a path of normalising the ill-treatment certain foreigners. It would appear that the lives of those migrants filling the employment gaps of work often described as ‘what the Maltese no longer want to do’ are deemed less significant, less worthy, less human.

Malta has the obligation to respect, protect and fulfil the fundamental human rights of all persons in Malta, irrespectively of their nationality or their purpose of stay in Malta. In particular, all persons should be treated with dignity, be protected from forced labour and provided with humane conditions of employment. In this regard, human rights law and labour law complement each other in ensuring that all workers are free from abuse and ill-treatment.

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A new art project that’s larger than life!


‘Larger Than Life!’ celebrates the 70th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by producing and exhibiting innovative, cutting-edge and dramatic human rights posters designed by some Maltese’s leading visual artists.

This is yet another project where we’re engaging with Malta’s artistic community in order to promote our human rights messages. We find this approach to be an enriching, exciting and fun way of reaching out to new audiences and ‘lightening up’ our often tough advocacy work! Past projects where we successfully engaged with the arts include 9 Parts of Desire (theatre, gender), You Are What You Eat (visual arts, migration) and Burning Bikinis (film, gender).

Through its Curatorial Team, which will include local artist and curator Alexandra Pace, the project will commission carefully-selected local artists to design large-scale Malta-relevant human rights posters, which are able to report/mediate fundamental messages as dignity, equality, respect, diversity.

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We’re training integration educators…

On Friday evening and Saturday morning, Neil (our Director) delivered legal training to integration educators, engaged by the University of Malta to deliver cultural orientation classes to migrants and refugees.

Following Government’s adoption of Integration=Belonging: Migrant Integration Strategy and Action Plan, the Integration Unit within the Ministry for European Affairs and Equality has been making steady progress towards implementation of the country’s integration agenda.

In particular, free classes in English and Maltese have already started, as part of Stage 1 of a migrant’s integration path. Stage 1 also includes basic cultural and societal orientation, and a record+assessment of qualifications, trade and work experiences.

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