Malta’s systematic detention of asylum-seekers and migrants has for years been criticised by key human rights bodies. The European Court of Human Rights (here, here and here), the Council of Europe’s Human Rights Commissioner, the Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Malta’s own Courts have all had harsh words to describe a policy that ignores international, European and national standards.

We visit detention on a regular basis, where our Pro Bono Unit provides legal information and services on how to challenge the detention legality. Together with assisting persons on their detention, we also guide them through other important procedures they must go through whilst detained: the asylum interview and appeals process, age assessment, vulnerability assessment and Dublin claims.

Malta’s detention regime must change.

Stop detaining children! Furthermore it should only detain anyone as an exceptional measure of last resort, and this only after an individual assessment.

Where anyone is detained, Malta must ensure living conditions that respect human dignity. It must also guarantee judicial oversight over decisions to detain anyone.

Vulnerable persons should never be detained.

There are alternatives.

Politico feature, by Joanna Demarco and Julian Delia.

The project Detained Narratives project was funded by the Small Initiatives Support Scheme (SIS) managed by the Malta Council for the Voluntary Sector (MCVS).

A Fundamentally Different Approach is Needed: Joint Statement to the European Committee on Legal Co-Operation of the Council of Europe on the codification of European Rules for the Conditions of Administrative Detention of Migrants