PEOPLE ARE MORE IMPORTANT – Joint NGO Statement

We are appalled beyond words that, after 18 days of negotiations, 49 men, women and children remain stuck on a boat within sight of the Maltese shore.

In spite of countless calls for solidarity, European Member States have not managed to find a diplomatic solution to the current impasse.

This is nothing short of tragic and shameful.  It can only mean that we have completely lost our humanity – as a people and a union of states that supposedly upholds the values of solidarity, respect for human rights and human dignity.

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Press Statement calling on the Government of Malta to Open Port for Safe Disembarkation of 49 Refugees and Migrants

49 refugees and migrants remain stranded in the Mediterranean. To date, no member state has stepped up and assumed shared responsibility for refugees and migrants saved at sea. The lack of solidarity among Member States is not only disappointing, but also demonstrates a disturbing disdain for their legal, ethical and moral responsibilities towards each other, and more importantly, towards the most vulnerable.

We would like to take this opportunity to recognize and commend the work and commitment of Malta’s Armed Forces who have been engaged in a number of rescue operations in the Mediterranean over the Christmas period. Far from international headlines, the Government of Malta has opened its port and provided haven to those in desperate need of safety and security.

The situation in Libya, the violence and ongoing human rights violations are well documented. Libya is not, and must not be a port of return. We call upon the Member States to support the work of the humanitarian search and rescue vessels, to share responsibility for all asylum seekers entering the EU, regardless of port of entry, and to enable access to safety and protection throughout the EU.

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NGO PRESS RELEASE – Don’t look the other way: Allow the disembarkation of the men, women and children stranded on board the Sea-Watch 3

As Malta and the rest of Europe celebrate Christmas, 32 men, women and children, have been stranded out at sea for days waiting for a country to relent and take them in.

The tragic truth is that not a single member state has stepped up and offered refuge. This is beyond regrettable, it is a travesty of humanity.

We, the undersigned NGOs, urge the government to once more lead by example and allow the people stranded on board the rescue vessel, Sea Watch 3, to disembark in Malta. Malta should do this whether or not it is legally responsible for disembarkation in terms of international law.

Malta, like all other European states, has a legal obligation to offer refuge to people fleeing persecution.

The standard argument these days is that migrants rescued at sea should be returned to Libya, even if we know that they will be imprisoned in horrible conditions, tortured, raped, or sold as slaves. This is a flagrant violation of our freely assumed commitment to ensure that no one is returned to a country where their safety is not guaranteed and where they are at risk of torture or other violations of their rights.

Arguing that we are somehow absolved of responsibility for their fate, because Malta is not intervening directly, is nothing short of facile, as responsibility is not only legal, it is also moral and ethical. It is nothing short of cynical to use laws enacted to preserve life and protect human dignity to justify a refusal to provide a safe haven to people fleeing persecution. In so doing, we violate the spirit of the law, under the pretence of upholding its letter.

It is for this reason that we call on Malta not to look the other way, and to open its doors to those who need it most.

This press release is being issued by:

aditus foundation, African Media Association, Allied Rainbow Communities, Christian Life Community (CLC) Malta, Cross Culture International Foundation (CCIF), Department for Inclusion and Access to Learning – Faculty of Education University of Malta, Integra Foundation, JRS Malta, Kummissjoni Ġustizzja u Paċi, Malta Emigrants Commission, Malta LGBTIQ Rights Movement, People for Change Foundation, Platform of Human Rights Organisations in Malta (PHROM), Solidarity with Migrant Group, SOS Malta, Spark 15, The Critical Institute, Women’s Rights Foundation

Friday, 28th December, 2018


#DontLetThemDrown


Exchange of legal publications

On Wednesday 28 November human rights non-governmental organisation aditus foundation donated to the Dean of the Faculty of Laws of the University of Malta copies of their two most recent publications, for the Faculty of Laws and Theology Library, and to be distributed to lecturing staff and law students.

The Compendium of Asylum Jurisprudence, Law and Policy is Malta’s first and only gathering of judicial pronouncements in the area of asylum, presenting decisions of the Maltese Courts and of the European Court of Human Rights. It is a useful handbook for practitioners, academics and students interested in various themes in the field of asylum, including: age assessment procedures, administrative detention, access to territory and procedural issues.

Access to Legal Assistance in Malta: Mapping the Availability of Legal Assistance for the Protection of Fundamental Rights in Malta explores the Malta’s provision of legal aid to persons who cannot afford the costs of private legal advice and counsel, advocating for the provision of quality and accessible legal assistance.

“It is in the interests of human rights protection to secure legal education and practice that is grounded in a solid understanding of the relevant norms and values.

We are extremely happy to support the Law Faculty’s work at producing lawyers who are not only well-versed in human rights law, but who also embrace its spirit and ethos.”

Dr Neil Falzon, aditus foundation Director.

The Compendium of Asylum Jurisprudence, Law and Policy and Access to Legal Assistance in Malta: Mapping the Availability of Legal Assistance for the Protection of Fundamental Rights in Malta are freely available from aditus foundation.

Receiving the books, Faculty of Laws’ Dean Professor Kevin Aquilina donated a copy of his recent book to the organisation. Human Rights Law: Selected Writings of Kevin Aquilina presents a compilation of the Dean’s insights into several themes regarding human rights in Malta.

Spanning several years of writing, it is not only intended to share the author’s views on key subjects, but to also generate discussion on the present and future of human rights law in Malta.


News item taken from the website of the University of Malta.