Understanding our work in relation to migrant detention – Interview with our Director

#KeepingUpWithTheInterns

Hey all! I hope all of you are doing well! Today I will be writing about something that aditus foundation works a lot on: our work on migrant detention. To help me understand this topic and the current situation better I decided to interview our Director, Dr. Neil Falzon.

To start off, I asked him to explain the concept of migrant detention: “Detention is when people’s liberty is entirely taken away from them.” 

As he was talking, I started to picture Malta’s detention as a form of imprisonment. Neil agreed with me, and told me that the detention centres “look and feel like prisons, with bars on the windows, guards everywhere and a highly securitised space!” He also added that “detained persons are not allowed to leave the detention centre and live under very strict conditions.

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Project Alert | How do we identify stateless persons in asylum scenarios?

We have just started work on a new project: Identification Tool for Statelessness in Asylum. Our efforts will seek to create a working tool allowing us – and our partners – to identify stateless persons in Malta’s asylum scenario.

Although there is no comprehensive and updated research on number of stateless persons in Malta, it is clear that a high percentage is present with asylum-seeking of refugee communities. These would be people who have either been stripped of their nationality due to, for example, ethnic conflicts or partition of states. Otherwise, they could be people who are not recognised by the state they deem to be their own because they might have lived their entire lives outside that country, in a refugee camp in a neighbouring state.

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A new policy that will lead to increased social exclusion and poverty

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.”

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Migrant pushbacks must stop at once!


We are extremely concerned at allegations that Malta is complicit in the on-going illegal pushback to Libya of over 100 migrants. Returning migrants to Libya means returning men, women and children to severe human rights abuses, including arbitrary detention, violence and torture, inhumane living conditions, human trafficking and slavery. It is entirely unacceptable for Malta to even consider engaging in such activities in its efforts to reduce the number of arrivals of persons by sea.

Publicly available information indicates the presence of Libyan Coast Guard ships in Malta’s Search and Rescue Zone. Malta’s responsibility for persons in distress within our Search and Rescue Zone is to coordinate their rescue and ensure their disembarkation at a port of safety. As strongly reiterated by the European Union Commission and by the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Libya is not a safe port for migrants. Malta’s engagement with Libya’s Coast Guard for this to pick up persons from Malta’s Search and Rescue Zone is tantamount to an illegal pushback as it will anyway result in the return of persons to a place where lives and human rights will be at risk.

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