Malta and Human Rights: It’s Time for the UPR

Malta’s turn is up soon. On 14 November 2018, Malta will be questioned on the advancements of its human rights thanks to the Universal Periodic Review (UPR)  process, with the distribution of the report taking place on 16 November 2018.

So what is this UPR?

The UPR is a particular procedure that comprises a periodic review of the human rights records of all 193 UN Member States. It gives each State the chance to declare what actions or steps it has taken to improve the human rights situation in its country and to discuss the challenges that State may be facing when it comes to these rights.

Implemented by the Human Rights Council, the UPR single-handedly is the only current mechanism that promotes and shares the best practices on human rights around the globe.

The objective of the UPR

The aim of the Universal Periodic Review is to assess the State’s human rights records and point out any violations when these occur. The UPR can also provide technical help to the State and expand its capacity to mitigate any challenges on human rights.

Another one of its objectives is to promote the sharing of best practices among States and other stakeholders such as NGOs. The ultimate aim of the UPR is to improve the human rights situation in every country, with momentous consequences for people around the globe.

On  14  November, Malta’s review will commence at 2.30pm and finish at around 6 pm.

Can Non-governmental organizations participate in the UPR?

NGOs are called in a pre-review session to submit information, which is then added to the ‘other stakeholders’ report.  The information they give can then be referred to by any of the States taking part in the interactive session during the review.

NGOs can also attend the Universal Periodic Review Working Group sessions. They can also make Statements at the regular session of the Human Rights Council when the outcome of the State review is being deliberated.

Last Friday, aditus Director Neil Falzon attended a pre-session of the UPR, where he delivered a presentation on behalf of aditus foundation and the Platform of Human Rights Organisations in Malta (PHROM).

The pre-session was attended by several state missions based in Geneva, and served as an information-gathering exercise for them as they prepare their questions and recommendations for Malta.

The session was organized by the NGO UPR-Info.

What steps are taken following the review?

The State should implement the recommendations appended in the final outcome. The UPR makes sure that all States are responsible for the implementation or failure to implement these recommendations. The Council will also address the issues when States fail to co-operate.

The Human Rights Council will decide on the measures to take when a State persists in not cooperating with the Univeral Periodic Review.

In our next blog post on the UPR, we’ll give you a detailed account of Neil’s presentation so that you can follow the several stages leading to the procedure’s final report on Malta.


Jum il-Mara – Semma’ Leħnek

As you know, International Women’s Day is celebrated around the world on the 8th March. On this day, Moviment Graffitti, the Women’s Rights Foundation, Gender Equality Malta, Men Against Violence and Integra Foundation shall be organising a march entitled ‘Jum il-Mara – Semma’ Leħnek’, in order to denounce all forms of violence against women and sexism.

The march shall begin at 5.30pm at City Gate, Valletta, and will be followed by a gathering at Maori (Valletta) around 8pm for some drinks and music.

We will be there to support this important initiative…join us! You can also visit our Facebook event.


Youth, Not Status gathered 30 youth for its I training course weekend

On Saturday 30 September and Sunday 1 October 2017, we held the first training course weekend of our project Youth, Not Status. 30 young people living in Malta, coming from different backgrounds and nationalities. Students, youth leaders, social workers and various trainers, gathered for 2 days at the Archbishop’s Seminary in Rabat.

The training course weekend was an opportunity for our participants to create a platform to exchange experiences, practices and methods for young people and youth organizations on how to address migration, integration and human rights issues at the grassroots. It also included discussions focusing on national youth actions and how to strengthen the awareness and mobilization of young people in relation to these issues.

The project, funded by Erasmus+, will bring together Maltese youth and young refugees and migrants in an open social dialogue with local authorities focused on key themes of migration and integration relevant to Malta, highlighting stories and experiences from a youth perspective.

The training is also an opportunity for brainstorming about ways in which young people can be mobilised into find solutions in common critical areas: such as political participation, prevention of violent extremism, cultural heritage, freedom of expression and media and information literacy.

The training course weekend was designed to encourage discussions between Maltese and migrant youth in order to increase knowledge and awareness on migration, to reflect about the effects of migration on the rights of young refugees, and to understand the challenges and potentials of cultural diversity, inclusion, social integration, youth work and youth political participation.

The 2 days of training were structured into 4 different sessions facilitated by our Assistant Director Carla Camilleri, Maria Pisani from Integra Foundation, Binda Consulting International and PRISMS Malta. The sessions focused on the following topics:

  1. Civil Society and Democracy;
  2. Youth Narratives and Youth experiences with Racism, Marginalisation, xenophobia.
  3. Youth as Political Citizens,
  4. Youth Sharing Experiences, Multiculturalism.

Due to the lack of information on the existing issues, preconceived ideas, the continuous criminalization of the irregular migrants and their presumed threat and youth civil society, Maltese and the refugee and migrant community are not empowered to act as a cohesive group.

The sessions held during the weekend aimed at strengthening the protection of the rights of migrants and to change the societal attitudes towards them by integrating human rights discourse and the dignity dimension into the public debate on migration.

The discussion among the participants concluded with two main objectives:

  1. to change the discourse on migration by mainstreaming the topics of human rights, dignity and protection into public discussions;
  2. to develop and implement advocacy goals aiming to ensure the implementation of opportunities for youth to engage in governance and participate in political and decision-making processes.

Youth, Not Status next training course will be held on the 11 and 12 November.

The topics will be:

  • Cohabitation and co-work between young Nationals and young Refugees in Malta;
  • Young people’s representation in media, dialogue and collaboration between youth and key media actors;
  • National legislation on youth revision participation to advocate for the development of national youth strategies and policies and to lobby for the sound implementation of these.

REGISTRATION IS STILL OPEN!! Click here to apply:

http://aditus.org.mt/our-work/projects/youth-not-status/registration-form/

If you need more info, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us:

[email protected]


Awareness Campus – aditus at a training in Italy

From 3rd to 16th July 2017, Teatro Stabile di Torino and Banca San Paolo with the support of the Regione Piemonte organised the Training Awareness Campus in Moncalieri, Turin, Italy, addressed to actors, cultural mediators, animators, dancers, social workers, doctors, psychologists, physiotherapists, trainers, gymnasts, singers and students, aimed at the consolidation of a group for conducting theatrical practices for the care of the person and in particular for the migrants.

Being also a Drama Trainer and Artistic Project Manager of programmes exploring themes related to vulnerable, marginalised and displaced people, I flew to Italy, to Turin and was one of the 50 participants.

The training provided a safe space in which everyone, young people up to the age of 85 years old, could express themselves freely and explore their creativity. The applied learning method was based on the constant and rigorous exercise of awareness and attention through the practice of physical, vocal and narrative action and on the practice of articulated instruments for building a way of reflecting on space and relationships with the others. The training focused on acting, interactive theatre, devising to bear witness, raise awareness, and build alliances and a cultural resistance movement at the core of a free and critical society.

During the training, the practical work was supplemented by several public talks of pedagogy, philosophy, history, and literature held by professors and doctors coming from the University of Milan, Bologna and Turin. Also in the evening, the social life consisted of cultural events organised by local organisations of refugees, volunteering associations for people with disability and migrant women groups.

Fonderie Limone, Moncalieri, Turin, Italy.  Ph credit: Giulietta Vacis

The training was very intense, from 9.00 in the morning till 8.00 in the evening. Living for 2 weeks with a very diverse group of people, sharing very personal emotions and stories helped us to develop an environment of inclusivity and integration in which every person is made to understand that she or he has a contribution to offer.

The trainers’ team worked hardly to facilitate and encourage our social interaction, collaboration, positive communication, mutual support and listening through very specific exercises and social games. I think that producing state of art and thought-provoking theatre and media products in order to strengthen collaboration, self-awareness, creativity and imagination is extremely important for working in our community and advocating good governance, accountability, equality, integrity and justice.

Fonderie Limone, Moncalieri, Turin, Italy.                                      Ph credit: Giulietta Vacis

Artistic expression is a strategy to build a sense of community, of unity, of shared values, an alternative world view, and a commitment to making the struggle for social justice an integrated part of our lives.

The cultural resistance campus in Italy aimed to raise awareness and critical sense that is able to analysis of the reality around us and challenge all forms of oppression.

Fonderie Limone, Moncalieri, Turin, Italy. Ph credit: Giulietta Vacis

Antonella Sgobbo, Programmes Officer

 


aditus foundation at PICUM General Assembly 2017 in Brussels

From 12 to 13 May 2017 members of the Platform of International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM) met in Brussels for the Annual Assembly:  New Challenges and Opportunities for undocumented Migrants’ Rights.

The General Assembly is a crucial event for PICUM members as it is unique opportunity to come together and talk about the situation of undocumented migrants across Europe and to mobilise around main problems. The Assembly is an essential part of PICUM’s calendar as it enables members to talk about key issues, discuss the events from last year and work on strategies for the next year.

From aditus foundation, I participated in the interactive two-day event which consisted of expert panel discussions on recent migrant policy developments, thematic break-out sessions and ‘floor is yours’ sessions hosted by the members. This year PICUM’s key issues included access to healthcare, fair working conditions, access to justice for undocumented women, children and families.

The Assembly started with a discussion about the current EU policies concerning migration, and main events from last year which have the biggest influence on the issue. During the opening panel, speakers such as Franck Duvell from the University of Oxford, Judith Sargentini (Member of European Parliament),  Stephanos Stavros from the Council of Europe and Kadri Soova from PICUM, spoke about the migration crisis in Europe.

Discussions during the conference were mainly focused on the EU’s attempts to regularise the inflow of migrants by negotiating agreements with states through which migrants and refugees are passing to reach the EU. Treaties and agreements with various countries aiming to send refugees back were strongly criticised.

Another important recurring topic was the Dublin Regulation and the negative role it plays in the current situation. All participants agreed that there is an urgent need to change the EU norms concerning the return of refugees to the Member State where they applied for international protection, or through which they originally entered the European Union. It was stressed that all the Member States should share the relocation responsibility of refugees.

Taking into account all the topics raised during the conference, one issue seemed especially crucial as it was common for all the EU. In speeches and during the panel sessions all participants kept mentioning the importance of the fight against hate speech in the context of migration and refugees. Everyone criticised the growth of populism among EU Member States and the negative role played by some governments using this issue in their political  activities.

Together with participating in panels and thematic sessions, we had a chance to get to know each other and share experiences. In our discussions we talked about the situation in our home countries and about the biggest challenges everyone is facing in everyday work.

Taking part in PICUM’s General Assembly was an amazing opportunity to meet inspiring people who are very committed in their fight for a better life for migrants.