Our new case against Malta, filed before the European Court of Human Rights

aditus foundation recently filed another application against Malta before the European Court of Human Rights. The applicant is alleging violations of Article 3 (inhuman and degrading treatment) and Article 5 (arbitrary detention). In an earlier case, our client is alleging that Malta’s asylum procedure did not give him the opportunity to validly present his claim. 

The applicant is an asylum-seeking minor suffering from a medical condition. He has been detained since his arrival in Malta in November 2021. 

In the application to the Strasbourg Court, he complains that his current detention is arbitrary and based solely on his nationality. He claims that his detention is based on the fact that he is from a country Malta deems to be safe, and to which removals from Malta are being carried out. He also complains of the unlawfulness of his previous periods of detention on health grounds and of his conditions of detention in the so called ‘China House detention centre and the Safi Detention Centre where he is still detained today. 

The applicant had tried to challenge his detention in January 2022 with the assistance of our lawyers, however the Court of Magistrates rejected the plea in a controversial judgement that failed to question the validity of his detention.

The applicant also appeared twice before the Immigration Appeals Board, where he argued the same as in front of the European Court of Human Rights. The Board confirmed the validity of his detention in June 2022.

In recent years the Strasbourg human rights court has already found Malta to be in breach of both Articles 3 and 5 in the context of detention of migrants: Feilazoo v. Malta, Louled Massoud v. Malta, Aden Ahmed v. Malta and Suso Musa v. Malta.

In a February 2022 report, the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights recently raised concerns about the detention conditions inside the detention centres of Malta. She called on the authorities to focus on investing in alternatives to detention and to ensure that no children or vulnerable persons are detained.

2019 UN Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty

The 2019 UN Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty concluded that the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is violated in cases of purely migration-related detention of children.

According to Study, “(S)ince migration-related detention cannot be considered as a measure of last resort and is never in the best interests of the child, it is prohibited under international law and should, therefore, be forbidden by domestic law”.

The study goes a step further in recommending, “(S)tates should adopt all necessary measures in order to eradicate any form of immigration detention of children and families.”

Our on-going work on this application is carried out in collaboration with Advancing Child Right Strategic Litigation, ACRiSL.