International Human Rights Day Press Statement: “Talk to human rights defenders, they work for us all.”

The Platform of Human Rights Organisations in Malta (PHROM) stresses the crucial role played by its Member Organisations in ensuring Malta remains a safe, harmonious and inclusive place for all persons. The Platform’s 29 non-governmental organisations are active in several areas, striving to ensure that their beneficiaries do not face exclusion, violence, poverty, discrimination, harassment and other human rights violations. As believers and promoters of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, commemorated today, all our Member Organisations are at the forefront of standing up for the invisible, the ignored and the set-aside.

In commemoration of 2015 International Human Rights Day, the Platform invites Malta to remember those NGO staff members, administrators, volunteers who passionately and selflessly aim to restore dignity and humanity to so many lives. Through the provision of basic, yet fundamental services, our Member Organisations fill gaps where the State is unable or unwilling to reach out: medical, financial, psychological, social, legal, administrative, spiritual, artistic, as so many more services.

It is also thanks to many of our Member Organisations that Malta can boast its high level of legal and administrative protection for children, women, the LGBTI community, persons with disabilities, persons with mental health problems, access to arts and culture, etc.

Yet despite the extremely valid work performed by our Member Organisations, ultimately benefitting the entire nation, many of them face regular abuse, harassment, bullying, threats and false accusations. It is unacceptable that persons and their family members are put at risk or through unnecessary stress and anxiety for their legitimate defence of Malta’s vulnerable communities, for the valid questions they ask and for their expectation of a society based on rule of law and respect for core values and principles.

“Our Member Organisations work for the human rights of their direct beneficiaries, but also for ours. Let’s reach out and thank them for making Malta what it is today, and for urging a much better place for future generations.” Dr. Roberta Lepre, PHROM Chairperson.

The Platform of Human Rights Organisations in Malta stands in solidarity with its Member Organisations and invites Malta to offer maximum protection to its human rights defenders. This can be achieved through following and supporting their work, participating in their events, reading their publications and endorsing their statements and views, including through social media.

We also urge Malta to refrain from resorting to abusive language and threats, and instead to consider approaching its Member Organisations with valid queries about their work, their beneficiaries, the challenges they face and their views on how to improve Maltese society.

aditus foundation is a founder Member Organisation of the Platform, also acting as its Secretariat.

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