Personal stories of protecting refugees coming soon: Our Island

My time spent working with refugees has taught me many things: the sheer strength of the human spirit, the tragedy of loss and suffering born of human egoism, neglect and violence, the capacity of the nation state to deny the right to rights and the people’s capacity to be complicit…and also to resist.

Maria Pisani

How does one convey what it was like to work in detention, to someone who has never set foot inside a detention centre? How to bring home the devastating impact of detention, so neatly defined as “deprivation of liberty or confinement in a closed place, which [one] …is not allowed to leave at will”, on the lives of men, women and children, which, even after so many years of working with detainees, even I feel I cannot begin to understand?

Katrine Camilleri

These are excerpts taken from Our Island: Personal Accounts of Protecting Refugees in Malta, a book soon to be published by aditus foundation. Our Island gathers the personal experiences of those people who experienced Malta’s encounter with refugees, as it seeks to document important moments and suggest lessons learnt.

Whilst much is said of refugees in Malta, little is documented in terms of the early years of these arrivals and how, throughout the decades, these arrivals shaped various parts of Maltese communities.

Our Island invited directly involved individuals to write about their experiences, thoughts and significant moments. Our aim is to document important years in Malta’s social and community history, by gathering informal and personal accounts from those persons who experienced it first hand.

The book covers important themes such as the government’s reaction and response, the detention regime, the asylum procedure, rescue at sea, community mobilisation and much more!

We want to share these accounts in order to appreciate them, learn from them and assess the impact of refugee arrivals on Malta.

Contributors to Our Island are: Katrine Camilleri (JRS Malta), Maria Pisani (Integra Foundation, former Head of IOM Office in Malta), Mario Friggieri (former Refugee Commissioner), Michael Camilleri (human rights lawyer), Ali Konate (founder of the Migrants’ Network for Equality), Tonio Borg (former Minister for Justice and Home Affairs), Colonel Clinton J. O’Neill (Armed Forces of Malta), Mgr. Alfred Vella (Malta Emigrants’ Commission) and Paolo Artini (UNHCR).

Neil Falzon, our Director, provides an Introduction.

The book will be published soon and made available either directly from our offices or through leading bookstores. Contact us if you want to reserve your copy (against a donation to the organisation).

Our Island is funded through the Creative Communities Fund of Arts Council Malta.



New national report on asylum in Malta

 

aditus foundation and JRS Malta are happy to launch the 2017 AIDA report.

The Asylum Information Database (AIDA) is a project of the European Council on Refugees & Exiles (ECRE), producing national reports on the situation of asylum in a number of EU Member States and covering key areas such as asylum procedures, reception conditions and detention.  

It aims to provide up-to-date information on asylum practice in 23 European countries, which is accessible to researchers, advocates, legal practitioners and the general public. The database also seeks to promote the implementation and transposition of EU asylum legislation reflecting the highest possible standards of protection in line with international refugee and human rights law and based on best practice.

The 2017 AIDA report on Malta was jointly researched and prepared by aditus foundation and JRS Malta, and it was edited by ECRE. Together with the comprehensive overview of the asylum procedures and updated figures, the 2017 AIDA report highlights the changes in the way the Dublin procedure is now carried out in Malta, the use of accelerated procedures for applicants coming from safe countries of origin, the reception conditions at the Initial Reception Centre and the concerns remaining  regarding the detention of applicants for international protection.

The full report can be downloaded here.


New project to strenghten our support to asylum-seekers & refugees!

On 1 January 2018 we launched Project Refugee Assistance Malta, our new project being implemented with JRS Malta.

The main aim of Project Refugee Assistance Malta is to ensure that refugees and asylum seekers are able to live a dignified life in Malta, where their immediate needs are promptly identified and met and where they enjoy access to their rights and opportunities.

Through our years of work with refugees and mainstream service-providers, aditus foundation and JRS Malta are acutely aware of the challenges faced by Malta in securing such basic needs and access to rights/opportunities

The project will offer refugees and asylum-seekers direct interventions to secure their basic needs, as well assistance with effective referrals to those mainstream providers that are able to better meet refugee needs.

Lawyers, social workers, psychologists and other professionals from the aditus and JRS Malta teams will offer refugees a coordinated service approach composed of personalised information and guidance on how to access rights and mainstream services, and individual legal and/or psycho-social measures where required.

In addition, we will also offer support in overcoming the obstacles they face when seeking to secure stable and regular employment.

Vulnerable or at risk individuals, such as refugee women and refugees with mental health issues, will receive specialised attention in order to ensure their specific needs are promptly identified and met.

Clients may avail themselves of these services in a number of different ways, which include:

  • weekly drop-in at aditus or JRS offices;
  • referrals from other NGOs;
  • referrals from public entities; and
  • referrals from other refugees/individuals.

We will be soon disseminating information on referral possibilities, but if you want more information get in touch with us right away!



How to identify the needs of refugees victims of torture?

Time for Needs, a project with the objective of contributing to the identification of special needs of victims of torture and/or serious violence, came to a conclusion with a conference on 28 September 2017 in Brussels, aimed at disseminating project findings.

During the conference the project’s final report, that includes a questionnaire assessing the procedural, reception, health and social needs of victims of torture and/or serious violence, was launched. During this conference presentations from the project partners and representatives from MSF Italy, EASO,  the Directorate General for Home Affairs, Medecins du Monde and the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims looked at the current state of play of the implementation of the Common European Asylum System with regards to torture and the way forward for improving the protection of torture victims in law and practice.

The open discussions following the presentations elicited insightful perspectives from different actors and stakeholders about the obstacles, challenges and solutions for enhancing the protection and care of this vulnerable population.

The project’s report can be freely downloaded here containing an overview of national procedures for identifying the needs of refugees victims of torture and/or serious violence (where national procedures exist), and the Common Basic Standards for such identification, realised through the project.

The project was co-funded by the European Union.

Dr. Julian Caruana

 


Join our youth project on refugee & migrant integration! #YouthNotStatus

Are you aged between 18 and 30 (or thereabouts!)?

Would you like to have your say on refugee and migrant integration?

Are you curious about how refugee and migrant youth experience Malta?

On Wednesday we’re launching your ERASMUS+ project Youth, Not Status, through which we’ll be exploring integration from a youth perspective. As its title implies, the project is not interested in the participants’ statuses, but wants to focus on their age and how this shapes their world views.

Youth, Not Status will organise a number of sessions where participants will be encouraged to interact, engage and discuss integration issues…with the ultimate aim of familiarising themselves with the theme and of shaping their own perspectives.

We’ll be exploring human rights, youth activism, EU dimensions, diversity, story-telling and many other elements.

Join us, or spread the word! For more information contact Antonella Sgobbo (antonellasgobbo@aditus.org.mt).

Information on Wednesday’s information session can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/events/312038969206435/