NGO reaction to the revisions to the Specific Residence Authorisation policy
We are extremely disappointed to read the revisions made by the Government to the 2018 Specific Residence Authorisation policy. Instead of “reducing social exclusion among migrant communities and recognising the efforts of those migrants who are actively contributing to our society” the revisions will destroy the hard-earned integration efforts of hundreds of migrants. The revised policy will result in people in Malta remaining undocumented and being denied access to the most basic rights. This will exacerbate the pain of so many men, women and children.
Two years ago, we welcomed the policy on Specific Residence Authorisation (SRA) as a unique opportunity to integrate migrants who have lived and worked in Malta for many years, granting them stability and security. We had commented “that the SRA policy is a clear acknowledgement by the relevant authorities of the personal, social, financial and other contributions made by so many migrants in Malta. In doing so, Malta is taking a bold step towards fostering a truly inclusive society.”
This is the Introduction to our submissions presented to the Parliamentary Secretariat for Equality and Reform for its consultation on the adoption of a national anti-racism action plan. Essentially, we are urging Government to place human dignity at the heart of its national framework by adopting a rights-based approach to national anti-racism plans.
The full document may be downloaded here.
aditus foundation enthusiastically welcomes Malta’s commitment towards establishing a national action plan to combat racism and xenophobia. This step has the potential of dramatically improving the well-being of thousands of persons living in Malta, whilst simultaneously confirming that Malta is truly committed to upholding the inherent dignity and equality of all persons.
It has always been a key concern of aditus foundation that a country becoming increasingly diverse has failed to muster the courage to engage with this sensitive theme. There is no excuse for the inaction of successive Governments. Year after year, hate speech against racial minorities has grown in volumes and intensity, with social media platforms now entirely dedicated to promoting – directly or indirectly – racial superiority, Nazism, fascism and the suppression of minority groups. The incidence of racially-motivated hate crimes is also of serious concern, the 2019 brutal murder of Lassana Cisse a stark wake-up call for the entire nation. Whilst these incidents have generally targeted the African migrant population, several other communities suffer discrimination on the basis of their membership – or attributed membership – to an ethnic or racial minority, including Maltese nationals.
(This Joint Statement may be downloaded here, and the shorter version may be found here.)
The commitment to a more human approach to protection and the emphasis on the fact that migration is needed and positive for Europe with which the European Commission launched the Pact on Migration and Asylum is welcome. However, this rhetoric is reflected only sparsely in the related proposals. Instead of breaking with the fallacies of the EU’s previous approach and offering a fresh start, the Pact risks exacerbating the focus on externalisation, deterrence, containment and return.
This initial assessment by civil society of the legislative and non-legislative proposals is guided by the following questions:
- Are the proposals able to guarantee in law and in practice compliance with international and EU legal standards?
- Will they contribute to a fairer sharing of responsibility for asylum in Europe and globally?
- Will they work in practice?
We’ve just published the Annual Report covering our activities for 2019. This report is a mandatory document for our reporting to the Commissioner for Voluntary Organisations as also a confirmation of our committment to transparency and accountability.
The report provides information on the activities, initiatives and engagements we worked on throughout the year. It also gives readers an insight into the major achievements and challenges we faced in the year. Importantly, it provides information on the human rights landscape of 2019 and our position within it.
The report is freely available on our Publications page, here.
This is my introduction to the Annual Report. We’re more than happy to provide more information on the Report’s content and our activities…just get in touch with us.
2019 will go down in history as one of Malta’s most tumultuous years. On-going investigations into the brutal assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia continued to unveil shocking stories of corruption at Malta’s highest political levels, including the Office of the Prime Minister and other Ministries, as well as in Malta’s most prominent and influential business circles. The impact on the nation was unprecedented, with upset crowds – led by civil society organisations – taking to the streets for several days with loud calls for justice, accountability and resignations. At the end of the year, the disgraced Prime Minister resigned as also the disgraced Minister for Tourism and the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff.
The scandals are nowhere near resolved and justice for Daphne and for the criminal activities she was in the process of revealing is far from being secured. In a recent opinion piece, I underlined that, as long as Joseph Muscat and Konrad Mizzi remain members of Parliament, Malta will remain besieged by corruption and criminal activity, unable to restore democracy.