Refugee-led Community Organisations in Malta: Advocating about issues directly impacting refugees. In a way that really reflects refugees.

Carla Camilleri, Assistant Director

Arrival in Malta

Malta starting receiving significant numbers of refugees in the mid-90’s. However, it was not until 2001 and 2002 that large numbers started arriving by boat from North Africa, Libya in particular. Most of those arriving in Malta through this route were from Sub-Saharan Africa, however in recent years Syrians and Libyans make up the largest groups in terms of arrivals.

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Understanding our work in relation to migrant detention – Interview with our Director

#KeepingUpWithTheInterns

Hey all! I hope all of you are doing well! Today I will be writing about something that aditus foundation works a lot on: our work on migrant detention. To help me understand this topic and the current situation better I decided to interview our Director, Dr. Neil Falzon.

To start off, I asked him to explain the concept of migrant detention: “Detention is when people’s liberty is entirely taken away from them.” 

As he was talking, I started to picture Malta’s detention as a form of imprisonment. Neil agreed with me, and told me that the detention centres “look and feel like prisons, with bars on the windows, guards everywhere and a highly securitised space!” He also added that “detained persons are not allowed to leave the detention centre and live under very strict conditions.

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New projects for 2021!

We’re happy to present the list of new projects we’ll be working on this year. These projects cover a broad range of issues…from statelessness to sex work from child detention to undocumented migrants…pretty much reflecting the needs we’ve identified in several sectors. Many of these initiatives will commence this year and flow into 2022. They join the projects we started last year, with the entire list giving you an idea of how busy we are but also of the human rights issues Malta still needs to address.

Contrary to what most people think, a long list of projects is not necessarily a good thing. Whilst it does mean that we’re able to address several human rights concerns, it also means that our work runs the risk of being fragmented and boxed within the constraints of specific projects: timelines, ear-marked budgets, constant reporting.

Human rights advocacy, by definition, is very difficult to squeeze into a finite project. Goals are generally long-term, targets not always reached and activities usually involve meeting stakeholders, initiating dialogue and other ‘soft’ elements that are hard to measure, evaluate and report on. Yet of course we count ourselves lucky that we have access to project funds to carry out our work, and thank all funding entities for these opportunities.

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Project Alert | How do we identify stateless persons in asylum scenarios?

We have just started work on a new project: Identification Tool for Statelessness in Asylum. Our efforts will seek to create a working tool allowing us – and our partners – to identify stateless persons in Malta’s asylum scenario.

Although there is no comprehensive and updated research on number of stateless persons in Malta, it is clear that a high percentage is present with asylum-seeking of refugee communities. These would be people who have either been stripped of their nationality due to, for example, ethnic conflicts or partition of states. Otherwise, they could be people who are not recognised by the state they deem to be their own because they might have lived their entire lives outside that country, in a refugee camp in a neighbouring state.

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