Migrants living in stables: our reaction

We are not surprised to read the news that yet another group of migrants were found living in squalor. On the one hand, it is terribly upsetting that more and more people have recognised an economic opportunity in this inhuman business. They are profiting by racist exploitation that ‘houses’ people in structures designed and intended for animals. Essentially, they reflect what we’ve been saying for far too long: Malta’s economic boom lives off the exploitation of migrants and returns close to nothing to its slave labourers.

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Malta’s review under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child – (2) Concluding Observations

This second article summarizes the Concluding Observations on Malta issued by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and follows our first article that focused on shadow reports submitted by civil society organizations and other stakeholders.

All the review documents (State Report, List of Issues, Civil Society Input, List of Delegation, Concluding Observations) may be found on the OHCHR site, under Malta.

What are Concluding Observations?

Malta is required to submit regular state reports to the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) on how rights provided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child are implemented. Following an analysis of these reports and of the shadow reports presented by interested entities, the CRC adopted Concluding Observations on Malta wherein it presented its concerns and recommendations.

Concluding Observations should be widely publicised in the State party as they serve as a basis for national debates on the improvement in the enjoyment by children of their fundamental human rights. Malta is also expected to follow up the recommendations provided in the Concluding Observations, as these will be looked at in the Committee’s next review.

What did the Committee on the Rights of the Child say about Malta?

Several topics were addressed by the Committee, including the allocation of resources, cooperation with civil society, children’s rights and the business sector, civil rights and freedoms, family environment and alternative care, disability, basic health and welfare, violence, non-discrimination, leisure and cultural activities, special protection measures and administration of juvenile justice. The Committee based its Concluding Observations on national and shadow reports, as summed up in our first article focusing on reports submitted by civil society organizations and other stakeholders.

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Malta’s review under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child – (1) Shadow Reports

This is the first of two articles bring you information on Malta’s review by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. In this article we’re looking at shadow reports submitted by civil society organisations and other stakeholders, whilst in the second article we’ll be summarising the Committee’s Concluding Observations on Malta.

What is the Convention on the Rights of the Child?

On 20 November 1989, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which came into force on 2 September 1990. This Convention is composed of 41 articles and guarantees children of State Parties rights, separately from adulthood, that are classified in different themes.

Indeed, the Convention provides children survival rights (e.g. the right to life and basic needs such as nutrition or medical services), development rights (e.g. education, play, culture, freedom of thought, conscience or religion), protection rights (e.g. protecting children against exploitation, harm, neglect, abuse, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, protection in employment) and participation rights (e.g. freedom of association and freedom of peaceful assembly).

Thus, “the world’s most widely ratified human rights treaty in history” provides children until the age of 18 a special protected time, “in which (they) must be allowed to grow, learn, play, develop and flourish with dignity”.

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We’ve launched Our Island II: Personal Accounts of Refugees in Malta!

It is a book about integration and the paths that people follow — voluntarily or otherwise — as they slowly make Malta home, their island.

Neil Falzon, aditus Director, talking to the Times of Malta

On Friday, May 10, at the Casino Maltese, Valletta, aditus foundation launched Our Island II: Personal Accounts of Refugees in Malta with the support of the European Parliament Office in MaltaUNHCR Malta and the European Council on Refugees and Exiles. The publication of Our Island II, the second in the Our Island series of migration books, was funded through the President’s Award for Creativity, which is managed by Arts Council Malta.

The launch was a great success, with the upper gallery of the Casino Maltese full of friends and fans of the project, and books flying off the tables. Our guests included civil society colleagues, members of the press and many figures from Malta’s diverse migrant community.

Mary and Ousmane, two contributors to Our Island II, as well as aditus Director Neil Falzon, Senior Communication Coordinator at ECRE Villads Zahle and European Parliament Office in Malta Acting Head Anna Zammit addressed the gathered guests at the start of the evening.

Neil, in his opening speech, contemplated the value of Our Island as a vehicle for the revelation that is migrant voices and first-person migrant stories: new arrivals making Malta their own and explaining how that endeavour continues to unfold in their own words — rather than either being rendered anonymous and invisible by generic news coverage, public discourse and government policy, or being spoken for through the work of their NGO advocates.

In closing, Mary, originally from Sierra Leone, offered humour and encouragement. She arrived in Malta as a war refugee, wife and mother. She is now a Mater Dei Hospital paediatric nurse, homeowner and proud taxpayer studying for a master’s degree having started her university education in Malta. Mary insisted, “Malta gave me a chance, a second chance at life… So, brothers and sisters, do not be disheartened. To be a refugee is not a disease. You can make it. If I can make it, you can also make it.

How can I obtain my copy of Our Island I and II?

For a copy of Our Island II (or Our Island I) against a nominal donation, write to us or give us a ring.


To see the album of Elisa Von Brockdorff’s fabulous photos from the launch, visit our Flickr page.


UN High Commissioner for Human Rights urges Malta to reconsider the charges against the 3 El Hiblu migrants

Taken from the OHCHR website, 7 May 2019.

We call on the authorities in Malta to reconsider the terrorism charges laid against three teenagers who were arrested on 28 March following the docking of the El Hiblu I commercial vessel in the country.

The charges relate to an incident that occurred at the end of March, when some 100 migrants attempting to flee Libya were rescued in international waters by a commercial vessel that was en route to Libya. The vessel reportedly rescued the migrants and initially informed them that they would be taken to Europe but then turned around to head back to Libya. The migrants protested in desperation and the ship was steered again toward Malta. The accused, aged 15, 16 and 19, have been charged under Maltese laws for allegedly hijacking the ship and forcing it to go to Malta. Some of the charges are punishable by life imprisonment. We understand that the three are due to appear in court on 20 May.

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