We’re launching an updated Statelessness Index country profile on Malta, which now includes a country briefing

Today aditus foundation and the European Network on Statelessness are launching an updated and expanded country profile on Malta as part of the Statelessness Index.

The Malta page now includes up-to-date data on new categories like withdrawal of nationality, reduction of statelessness, and bilateral return and readmission agreements, as well as a shorter country briefing, which outline recommendations for the Government on how to improve the treatment of stateless people and to prevent and reduce statelessness.

The Index country profile on Malta provides analysis for over 25 different categories. Law, policy and practice under each of these categories are assessed against international norms and good practice and marked with a clear and easy to understand assessment key.

Main 2019 Index Updates

2018 saw some improvement in Malta, but significant concerns about law, policy and practice on the protection of stateless people and prevention of statelessness remain.

At the end of 2018, a new regularisation route was introduced for people refused asylum who are unable to leave the country – some of whom may be stateless – provided they have lived in the country for five years and can meet other conditions. The new ‘SRA’ status gives individuals and their family members access to a two-year residence permit and a range of socio-economic rights.

However, this positive change does little to address one of the root causes of people ending up in irregularity: the lack of a procedure to identify and determine statelessness and grant stateless people the rights due to them under the 1954 Convention. Malta remains one of only four EU member states yet to accede to the Convention.

Further steps are also needed to protect stateless people from arbitrary detention, and to prevent and reduce statelessness in Malta. The safeguard granting stateless children born in Malta a conditional right to acquire nationality does not prevent statelessness in all cases and has still not been implemented in practice; and provisions relating to conferral of nationality by descent that were ruled discriminatory by the European Court of Human Rights in 2011 remain in place.

What have we been doing?

In the past year aditus foundation has been very busy putting the issue of statelessness on Malta’s national agenda. We flagged our human rights concerns to the Universal Periodic Review and, thanks to our submission and interventions, several States urged Malta to ratify the 1954 Statelessness Convention. Malta did not agree to accept these recommendations, yet we’re extremely glad that statelessness is now a UPR issue for Malta!

We also written formally to the Minister for Home Affairs and National Security, reminding him of commitments publicly made by Malta that it would be exploring the possibility of ratifying the 1954 Convention. In this regard, we have always urged the Ministry to designate the Office of the Refugee Commissioner as the administrative entity to process statelessness applications, given its expertise in searching and applying Country of Origin Information.

About the Statelessness Index

The Statelessness Index is an online tool that assesses how countries in Europe protect stateless people and what they are doing to prevent and reduce statelessness. It is the first to provide comprehensive and accessible comparative analysis for 18 countries in Europe, including Malta. It allows users to quickly understand which areas of law, policy and practice can be improved by states.

The Index was developed by the European Network on Statelessness (ENS), in partnership with aditus. It is an invaluable tool for sharing good practice and raising awareness of issues that affect stateless people.

We look forward to working with key stakeholders to facilitate the change needed to improve the lives of stateless men, women and children living in Malta.

If you have any questions regarding the Index, please do not hesitate to contact us.



Malta’s human rights commitments to the United Nations Universal Periodic Review (UPR)

Last November Malta’s human rights profile came under the spotlight after the United Nation’s Human Rights Council submitted its review on the country as part of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). The Council’s Working Group formulated a number of recommendations for Malta to observe in order to improve the implementation and enjoyment of human rights for all.

A number of Maltese NGOs including the Platform of Human Rights NGOs in Malta (PHROM), aditus foundation and the National Youth Council were also given the stage during the UPR’s pre-session to contribute a list of recommendations they deemed necessary for the country to implement. More about the session can be found here. The pre-session was organised by the NGO UPR-Info.

Malta has already supported a number of recommendations, summarised below.  Other recommendations have yet to receive support and Malta has until March 2019 to provide its final response to the recommendations.

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Voice for Choice – L-Għażla Tagħha

aditus foundation is one of the 6 civil society organisations which formed the first pro-choice coalition in Malta launched on the 8th March 2019. The coalition was set-up to lobby for the decriminalisation of abortion and to raise awareness in the community to combat the stigma that surrounds abortion.

Press Release – 8th March 2019

Voice for Choice is the first Maltese pro-choice coalition made up of civil society organisations and individuals who together want to campaign for reproductive rights and justice in Malta. We are grassroot organisations that represent various sectors of our society, as well as individuals that are passionate about reproductive health and rights.

Abortion continues to remain criminalised in Malta in all circumstances. We know that the reality is that women in Malta are still seeking and having abortions. However, this comes at both a financial and a social cost, as well as at the cost of their physical and mental health, as these women continue to live in fear, stigma and shame in our society.

In the last decades Malta has made great strides to be a more inclusive society. It is therefore time that the laws related to abortion follow suit so as to reflect the reality of people’s lives. We are here to ensure that all pregnant persons, irrespective of their gender, ethnicity, beliefs or age are supported, respected and protected whatever their choices.

Voice for Choice today launches its campaign to:

  • strive for a society based on equal respect and justice free from discrimination for all genders and minority groups;
  • ensure that barriers in accessing sexual and reproductive health and rights are removed;
  • promote equality in the area of sexual and reproductive health and rights;
  • remove shame and stigma related to sexual and reproductive health and rights.

We intend to achieve these goals through campaigning for the decriminalisation of abortion and advocating for laws that ensure that the health of pregnant people is protected and in line with international human rights standards through proper abortion care.

We will further strive to educate and debunk the myths surrounding abortion by providing factual information about sexual and reproductive health and rights.

To this aim, we will be organising activities to raise awareness in the community and combat the stigma and shame surrounding abortion, and providing up to date information to support evidence-based policy. Starting tomorrow, we will roll out our first social media campaign entitled “30 abortion myths: Get the facts straight’’.

Voice for choice will also be organising an annual event to commemorate ‘International Safe Abortion Day’ on the 28 September of each year.

Contact details:
Email: vfcmalta@gmail.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/V4CMalta/

Founders:

Women’s Rights Foundation
Moviment Graffitti
Malta Humanist Association
Integra Foundation
aditus foundation
Men Against Violence

Individual co-founders:

Francesca Fenech Conti and Jelena Dimke, admins Women for Women
Liza Caruana-Finkel


Less worthy, less human. Joint NGO Statement on the treatment of Turkish workers in Malta

We are deeply concerned at recent reports on the importation of Turkish nationals to work on a number of major construction projects. It is upsetting to read that hundreds of men will be housed in metal containers or similar make-shift structures and paid the lowest possible rates in return for what is extremely tough and strenuous work.   

Under no circumstances can metal containers be considered humane treatment, and the refugee centres in Ħal Far provide ample evidence of the severe impact such living conditions have on a person’s physical and mental health. For too long, Malta has been on a path of normalising the ill-treatment certain foreigners. It would appear that the lives of those migrants filling the employment gaps of work often described as ‘what the Maltese no longer want to do’ are deemed less significant, less worthy, less human.

Malta has the obligation to respect, protect and fulfil the fundamental human rights of all persons in Malta, irrespectively of their nationality or their purpose of stay in Malta. In particular, all persons should be treated with dignity, be protected from forced labour and provided with humane conditions of employment. In this regard, human rights law and labour law complement each other in ensuring that all workers are free from abuse and ill-treatment.

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