On Monday 4 October 2021, the migrant community of Malta met in Valletta to protest against the discriminatory and inhumane treatment at the hand of authorities and public bodies, such as Identity Malta. The protest, which was carried out peacefully and in compliance with Covid regulations, began in front of the Parliament of Malta and reached the Ministry Home Affairs, National Security and Law Enforcement. It carried the slogan: ‘Stability not Uncertainty’.
This protest had the main purpose of highlighting the seriousness of the situation that migrants are experiencing on the island. The problem of people moving from one nation to another is part of a global history and it must always be remembered that people migrate by risking their lives to escape poverty or to escape conflict and not always for fun or pleasure.
Who may be considered ‘stateless’?
Stateless individuals are people who have no nationality and thus, are often denied the right to access the most basic of rights since their lack of evidence of a legal status disallows them from benefitting from their fundamental rights such as the right to education, medical care as well as employment. Various human rights treaties establish the right to nationality and for this to be enjoyed in a non-discriminatory and non-arbitrary manner. However, as evinced by the recent Statelessness Index published by the European Network on Statelessness (ENS), progress in this area is quite slow-moving in both Malta as well as the remainder of Europe.
Civil society response to the news of safety of the ‘missing’ 110
It is with great relief that we welcome news of the safe disembarkation in Italy of the 110 persons assumed to have been stranded. We thank the Italian authorities for allowing their disembarkation and for providing them with shelter and safety. We also appreciate the statement issued by the Armed Forces of Malta, confirming that the AFM had been closely monitoring this boat for some time.
Civil Society Press Statement on the fate of over 100 people abandoned at sea
We are extremely concerned at the fate of over 100 men, women and children in distress at sea. We know that over the past few days they were in distress in Malta’s Search and Rescue Zone. We also know that a ship was ready to rescue them, but was prevented from doing so by Malta. Now, we are unable to say where they are, if they have been pushed back to Libya or even if they are alive. It is unacceptable that Malta relinquishes its duty to coordinate the rescue of persons in distress in its Search and Rescue Zone. It is also undemocratic and reprehensible that Malta has repeatedly refused to provide information on its decisions and actions.
We welcome the arrests and charges of last night, in particular those relating to Keith Schembri, chief of staff of disgraced Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.