Legal Update on the Captain Morgan Incident

This week aditus foundation, Jesuit Refugee Service Malta and Integra foundation filed three complaints in three different fora with respect to the situation of around 167 migrants currently being held aboard the private vessels Europa II and the Atlantis, just outside Malta’s territorial waters. The Maltese government chartered a number of private pleasure craft vessels to accommodate migrants rescued in Malta’s SAR zone in the period between the 28th and 29th April 2020 and 6th May 2020. The migrants were transferred from private and AFM vessels involved in the rescue to the chartered vessels and have remained there since the beginning of May.

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aditus foundation publishes its feedback on Malta’s Proposed Legislative Changes further to the Venice Commission Report on Malta

aditus foundation has presented its feedback on Malta’s Proposed Legislative Changes to the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) further to its Report on Malta published in 2018. aditus also had the opportunity to discuss its views on the proposed changes, together with other local civil society actors, with the rapporteurs of the Venice Commission.

As we have repeatedly underlined in all our advocacy efforts over the past years and in our communications with the Venice Commission and the European Parliament’s ad-hoc Delegation to Malta, our concerns are centred on a rights-based understanding of good governance, requiring a healthy and functioning rule of law to ensure the respect, protection and fulfillment of the fundamental rights of all persons living in Malta.

In our document we highlighted the importance of rolling out the much-needed reform, whilst also highlighting that any changes need to be part of a broader reform which takes into account the context of Malta’s political, media and civil society landscape that has shaped the reality that we live in today.

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An Update on Malta and Statelessness

A big step for Malta in 2019!

Once again, aditus foundation worked closely with the European Network on Statelessness (ENS) to research and compile comparative information on statelessness in Malta in the 2019 Statelessness Index.

One great outcome of our advocacy work is the accession by Malta to the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons on 11 December. The 1954 Convention, which now has 94 parties, establishes a framework for the international protection of stateless people and is the most comprehensive codification of their rights. To be stateless is not to be recognised as a citizen by any state under the operation of its law. As a consequence, a stateless person cannot enjoy her fundamental civil, political, economic, cultural and social rights.

As we highlighted before, this is a welcome development in Malta’s approach to protecting people affected by statelessness and comes following the Government’s pledge at the UNHCR High Level Segment on Statelessness in October, as well as our joint advocacy efforts with UNHCR Malta.

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How are coronavirus measures affecting refugees?

Various European Member States have introduced emergency asylum measures in response to the Covid-19 situation. Many of these affect services offered to asylum-seekers and at times raise concerns as to their compatibility with legal obligations in relation to asylum-seekers’ rights to information, legal aid and effective remedy.

Most of the information presented here was shared within the European Legal Network on Asylum (ELENA), a network coordinated by the European Council on Refugees and Exiles. Our Director is the Malta ELENA Coordinator. Information is relevant as at time of writing (30 March 2020).

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We’re welcoming Malta’s accession to the 1954 Statelessness Convention!

We’ve just written to the Minister for Home Affairs, National Security and Law Enforcement on the occasion of Malta’s accession to the 1954 Statelessness Convention. This is fantastic news, as Malta was one of the few EU Member States to not have signed any of the statelessness conventions.

For many years, together with our partners at the European Network on Statelessness, we’ve advocated for Malta to step up its efforts on statelessness and tackle the human rights challenges faced by stateless people in Malta, including arbitrary detention, lack of documentation, eternal legal limbo, difficulties marrying and even simple tasks as opening a bank account.

All these issues, as well as related recommendations, are very well-presented in the Statelessness Index, a useful comparative tool on how European countries are protecting stateless persons.

Our next steps are to work closely with the Ministry to ensure that the legal and administrative framework set up to implement the Convention is of the highest possible standards!