We urgently call on the Prime Minister to ensure that all persons within Malta’s responsibility are rescued and that their safety is guaranteed. The nation cannot quietly celebrate Easter whilst men, women and children are drowning on our doorstep.
Saving lives and ensuring their disembarkation at a safe place is a fundamental legal obligation and also a moral imperative that can in no way be negotiated or renounced.
We also reiterate our message of two days ago: Malta must revoke its decision to close its ports to persons rescued at sea, whoever they are.
- aditus foundation
- African Media Association Malta
- Association for Justice, Equality and Peace
- Blue Door English
- The Critical Institute
- Cross Culture International Foundation
- The Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation
- Foundation for Shelter and Support to Migrants
- Great Oak Malta Association
- Integra Foundation
- Isles of the Left
- Jesuit Refugee Service (Malta)
- Malta Emigrants’ Commission
- Migrant Women Association Malta
- Moviment Graffitti
- Office of the Dean – Faculty for Social Wellbeing, University of Malta
- People for Change Foundation
- SOS Malta
- Sudanese Migrants Association
- Syrian Solidarity in Malta
- Secretariat Assistenza Soċjali
- Paolo Freire institute
- St. Jeanne Antide foundation
- Fondazjoni Sebħ
- Church homes for the elderly
- Malta Association of Social Workers
- Dar tal-Providenza
- Peace and Good Foundation
- Maltese Association of Psychiatry
Joint NGO Press Release on Malta’s decision to close its ports and on the on-going detention of hundreds of migrants
We are shocked at Malta’s announcement that our ports are closed to persons rescued at sea. This will result in either people stranded out at sea for days, possibly weeks, or in their return to Libya, where they will probably face atrocious human rights violations. It is unacceptable for Malta to exploit the COVID-19 pandemic to shelve its human rights obligations and endanger the lives of men, women and children.
We fully appreciate the enormous challenges Malta is currently facing in securing public health. We also understand that, in order to protect the nation from this serious threat, Malta must adopt general measures that would otherwise be deemed unlawful due to their limitation of our fundamental human rights. Under these circumstances, it is also our collective duty to comply with these measures and cooperate with the authorities despite limitations imposed on, for example our rights to privacy and free movement.
We are extremely concerned at
the increased number of alerts we are receiving from persons who do not have
sufficient food for themselves and their families and who are about to be
evicted because they are unable to pay rent. Many were at risk of poverty
before the COVID-19 outbreak, but now the number of people requiring urgent and
immediate assistance is increasing exponentially.
As people lose their jobs or have their wages cut, their ability to meet the most basic needs and those of their family members is being jeopardised. For some, these risks will be mitigated by Government’s support packages or by relying on support provided by social services, the community, family, friends, NGOs or the Church. Yet there are thousands of people who will not be able to receive this life-saving aid. They might not be aware of it or they could not be eligible for it. More worrying, it is becoming increasingly clear that there simply is not enough available aid to support Malta’s most vulnerable persons. We also note last week’s statement by 20 Church entities, expressing similar concerns.
“COVID-19 is a test for our societies, and we are all learning and adapting as we respond to the virus. Human dignity and rights need to be front and centre in that effort, not an afterthought.”Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
It is appalling to hear Government talk of non-Maltese nationals without acknowledging their humanity and – in many cases – their vulnerability. Recent statements by the Economy Minister are, at best, extremely naive and, at worst, reveal a sheer lack of compassion and humanity. Thousands of non-Maltese men, women and children cannot be abandoned to a situation of absolute precarity. Their health and livelihood must be safeguarded in order to respect their dignity and also to prevent any threats to public health. When the nation is facing such challenging times, words of support and encouragement are far more productive than careless talk of unemployment and deportations. Under all circumstances our humanity and decency must prevail.
Over the past weeks it has become clear that the Coronavirus epidemic is going to have a severe economic impact resulting in large numbers of non-Maltese nationals losing their jobs almost overnight. If unmitigated, this large-scale and sudden unemployment will trigger a worrying chain of events that has the potential of ruining the lives of thousands of people. With migrants’ residence in Malta dependent on them holding a work permit, the immediate consequence of their job loss would be the withdrawal of their right to remain in Malta.
Migrants who until a few days ago were working, paying taxes and social security contributions, renting homes, attending classes and making Malta home will suddenly become “prohibited persons” under Malta’s immigration laws. As bluntly highlighted by the Economy Minister, this will mean one thing: returns to home countries and, possibly, detention and deportation.
This is our Director’s opinion piece for Times of Malta, published on 13 February 2020.
Despite the radical developments in Malta over the past months, it cannot be said that normality has been restored. After weeks of taking to the streets, we at Aditus Foundation welcomed Joseph Muscat’s resignation and Prime Minister Robert Abela’s statements on governance reform.
Yet, it would be foolish to believe or act as if Malta’s institutional shortcomings have miraculously disappeared.
Our democracy is still extremely vulnerable and we are concerned that the gravest threats come from within.
Notwithstanding their shameful activities, Muscat and Konrad Mizzi
remain members of Parliament. There, they are able to exercise authority
and influence laws that govern every aspect of all our lives and that
of our nation.
This is clearly unacceptable and no argument on their political right to those two seats will make us think otherwise.