Two Steps foward, One Step Back

The European Commission 2021 Rule of Law Report Country Chapter on the Rule of Law Situation in Malta

According to the 2021 Rule of Law Report Country Chapter on the Rule of Law Situation in Malta, Malta has made significant progress within the domestic justice system particularly with regard to the reform of judicial appointments and judicial discipline, and also the appointment of the Chief Justice, in fact the level or perceived independence has increased and this in view of enhancing judicial independence and subsequently facilitating access to justice. The main legislative changes that addressed these issues were highlighted in another post Venice Commission: regrets that 6 Bills adopted before opinion could be finalised, before it could engage with the national stakeholders.

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Venice Commission: regrets that 6 Bills adopted before opinion could be finalised, before it could engage with the national stakeholders.

In this post we examine the Venice Commission’s Opinion CDL-AD(2020)019 on the 6 Acts adopted by the Government on the 29 July 2020. In a previous post, we examined the process undertaken by the Government whilst seeking to implement the legislative changes proposed in Opinion CDL-AD(2020)006.

It is important to note that the Acts were adopted prior to receiving the opinion of the Venice Commission which was requested by the Government itself. On 23 June 2020, the Minister for Justice transmitted 10 bills to the Venice Commission and requested an urgent opinion of the Venice Commission by no later than the end of June 2020. The Commission replied by stating that it would not prepare an opinion by way of urgency but that it would be finalised at the beginning of October 2020. On 1 July 2020 the bills were presented to Parliament for a first reading, however they were not yet in the public domain. On the 29 July 2020, the Maltese Parliament unanimously adopted 6 of the 10 bills and notified the Venice Commission of this on the 4 August 2020.

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Giving a voice to sex workers in Malta

Sex workers … are the experts on the industry, despite the clamorous voices of those who wish to speak for us, and who dismiss the accounts from sex workers that do not fit with their ideological positions. Those who ignore our voices and dismiss the
complexity of our experiences are part of creating the very problems they say they wish to solve.

Sex Work and Human Rights, The International Union of Sex Workers, March 2014

With these words in mind, and conscious of the fact that the voices of sex workers in Malta has been largely absent from the recent reform discussion, we wish to give a much needed voice to the community that is often shrouded in fear and marginalisation.

Through the Out of the Shadows project, sex workers will be able to have an active role in informing policy makers and society in general of their experiences, needs and recommendations on issues surrounding sex work in Malta. The process will be led by Marija Grech, an independent researcher, who will create a safe space for individuals to talk and share in an intimate, respectful and inclusive atmosphere.

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Blogpost: Prosecution and imprisonment of refugees entering Malta using false documents

As a Malta-based NGO aditus monitors, acts and reports on access to human rights in Malta. We provide information and assistance to persons seeking to secure enjoyment of their fundamental human rights, or attempting to obtain an effective remedy against violations. It is within this spirit, that we have and will continue to engage with stakeholders to ensure adherence to Malta’s international, regional and national obligations.

In recent news we have been seeing an increasing number of migrants who have been imprisoned for months after being found guilty or pleading guilty to entering or being present in Malta with false documentation. In the asylum field there is an understanding that refugees will frequently be unable to legally leave their countries, travel and enter a safe country and this blogpost attempts to expand on the legal and policy observations surrounding these issues.

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Venice Commission: lack of public consultation akin to denying citizens their democratic entitlement.

Reform Process

Throughout this year we will be looking at Venice Commission Opinion CDL-AD(2020)019 adopted in October 2020 on the acts and bills that sought to implement the proposals for legislative changes which were the subject of Opinion CDL-AD(2020)006 adopted in June 2020. In this post we examine the Venice Commission’s reaction to the procedure used by the Government in adopting the first 6 Acts which are subject of the Opinion.

Backdrop: Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination

On the 8th October 2020 the Venice Commission adopted an Opinion on the ten acts and bills implementing the legislative proposals put forward by the Maltese government. This is the 4th Opinion adopted by the Commission on Malta since 2018. The process relating to the Malta’s constitutional amendments, separation of powers and independence of the judiciary kicked off in October 2018 by a request of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) to the Venice Commission.

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