We just published two documents that show how Malta continues to fail LGBTIQ+ refugees. As part of the #Safe4All campaign, we are urging Malta to revise it’s asylum laws because the current regime simply does not offer protection to people fleeing because of their LGBTIQ+ identities and/or behaviour.
For Malta Pride 2022, and as part of our activities building up towards EuroPride 2023 (hosted in Malta), we launched a campaign that focuses on LGBTIQ+ refugees in Malta. The campaign flags that Malta designates as ‘safe’ a list of countries that criminalise in their laws LGBTIQ+ identities and/or behaviour. This is unacceptable, as Malta should not be considering these countries as safe.
The story of two LGBTIQ+ clients: Ali & Ashraf
Ali and Ashraf* are two vulnerable LGBTIQ+ individuals, who faced sexual violence in their countries of origin as well as during their journey to Europe. They were referred to us by their social workers and doctors who they grew to trust over the course of a few months. Both Ali and Ashraf came from what are deemed to be “safe countries“** of origin.
On arrival in Malta they applied for asylum and were passed through a fast-tracked procedure due to the fact that they came from “safe countries”. The procedure was carried out when both, although extremely vulnerable, were being detained in Safi Detention Centre. They were not given any information prior to the asylum interview. Consequently, they did not mention that they are LGBTIQ+ individuals in fear of the consequences of making such statements, being unware of Malta’s position on the matter, and also in fear that they could be at risk of harassment or violence should the other detainees find out.
We remain very concerned that Malta continues to detain children with adults in Safi Detention Centre.
On 18 March 2022, our lawyers appeared before the Immigration Appeals Board on behalf of three minor Bangladeshi asylum-seekers. The three young men had arrived in Malta on 25 December 2021, after being rescued by the AFM at sea following their shipwreck. Shortly after, they had indicated being minors to the authorities. Despite that, they were kept in detention with adults for nearly 3 months.
During one of our routine call to detention in early February, adult Bangladeshis who were detained in the same block as minors informed us of the presence of the children. Our met the three young men on 6 February and decided to challenge their detention before the Immigration Appeals Board.
A case filed by aditus foundation lawyers on behalf of a Bangladeshi journalist was recently communicated to Malta by the European Court of Human Rights. Following the communication, Malta refused to settle the issue with the applicant. The Court had invited Malta to grant international protection to the applicant and close the case, but the Government refused and the case is now before the Court. The case is based on our assessment that Malta’s unfair detention and asylum policies put refugees at risk of being returned to their countries.
Ahmed* is a Bangladeshi journalist who fled his country in 2019 after being targeted by the ruling party during the elections. He arrived in Malta by boat in September 2021 and sought protection here. As soon as he arrived he was taken to Malta’s detention centre, where he remained for the whole duration of his asylum procedure. Throughout this time, more than a year, he did not have proper access to a lawyer.
On 30 March 2019 three teenage migrants – aged 15, 16 and 19 – were charged before Malta’s Courts. The most serious charges include acts of terrorism. If found guilty, they’ll spend the rest of their lives in prison.
They were rescued by a commercial vessel, the El Hiblu 1. Despite promises that they would be delivered to safety, the El Hiblu 1 sailed to Libya. Upon realising what had happened, the rescued migrants protested.
They simply couldn’t be returned to the horrible treatment they’d been suffering in Libya.
They need your help.