Malta Refugee Council reacts to revisions to policy on access to employment for asylum-seekers
We are extremely concerned about a new policy that is denying people the possibility of working and earning a living. It is clear that this decision will deprive hundreds of people, including families, of the income necessary to secure a minimum level of human dignity and self-reliance. Already vulnerable to labour exploitation, including wages far below the minimum wage, asylum-seekers and failed asylum-seekers will be pushed further into the dark as they will inevitably clutch at any opportunity to secure basics such as shelter, food and water, clothing, services and transport in order to survive.
In May, the Ministry for Home Affairs, National Security and Law Enforcement amended Malta’s approach on how people seeking asylum in Malta, or who sought asylum here and had their applications rejected, may or may not work. The new policy focuses on a list of countries deemed safe by the Minister, whereby nationals of these countries are effectively punished for exercising their fundamental human rights to seek protection from persecution. Asylum-seekers from a country deemed safe will experience forced redundancy for up to nine months before being allowed to work. Persons from such countries whose asylum applications are rejected will only be able to work in Malta under exceptional circumstances.
Celebrating 10 years of human rights work
This year, 2021, we are honoured to be celebrating our tenth birthday! On 31 March 2011 the Commissioner for Voluntary Organisations confirmed our application and registered us as a human rights NGO with a mission to “monitor, report and act on access to human rights in Malta.” Our vision, then, was to establish a professional organisation that would target Malta’s human rights framework. We wanted to closely scrutinise those structures mandated to respect, protect and fulfil the fundamental human rights of all persons living in Malta: legislation, policies, institutions…
Civil society response to the news of safety of the ‘missing’ 110
It is with great relief that we welcome news of the safe disembarkation in Italy of the 110 persons assumed to have been stranded. We thank the Italian authorities for allowing their disembarkation and for providing them with shelter and safety. We also appreciate the statement issued by the Armed Forces of Malta, confirming that the AFM had been closely monitoring this boat for some time.
Civil Society Press Statement on the fate of over 100 people abandoned at sea
We are extremely concerned at the fate of over 100 men, women and children in distress at sea. We know that over the past few days they were in distress in Malta’s Search and Rescue Zone. We also know that a ship was ready to rescue them, but was prevented from doing so by Malta. Now, we are unable to say where they are, if they have been pushed back to Libya or even if they are alive. It is unacceptable that Malta relinquishes its duty to coordinate the rescue of persons in distress in its Search and Rescue Zone. It is also undemocratic and reprehensible that Malta has repeatedly refused to provide information on its decisions and actions.
Matthew’s human rights internship has come to an end, after 12 months of an intense learning process! For his final contribution, here’s a video looking at the internship.