Today European Network on Statelessness is launching a new online tool, Statelessness Index, for assessing how different European countries – including Malta – protect stateless people and what they are doing to prevent and reduce statelessness.
The tool is aimed at sharing good practices as well as raising awareness or focusing advocacy on areas that need improvement. It is the first tool that provides comprehensive and accessible comparative analysis on statelessness in different countries in Europe.
Comparing country specific information has been made easy as the index is divided into five themes: international and regional instruments, statelessness population data, statelessness determination and status, detention and prevention and reduction. Moreover, assessing country specific information has been made easy by categorising the information to range from the most negative to the most positive.
You can find Malta in the index together with France, Germany, Macedonia, Moldova, The Netherlands, Poland, Serbia, Slovenia, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and Ukraine. More countries will be added later as the index is still in its pilot phase.
aditus foundation is the country expert for Malta, with the report compiled by our Director, Neil. According to him the most crucial aspect of statelessness in Malta is the very limited protection that Malta provides for stateless people.
Even though Malta is party to some relevant international and regional human rights treaties, it is not party to any of the core statelessness conventions, such as the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.
Another issue to be raised is the one of detention of stateless people. Maltese law provides some protections against arbitrary detention, but rights afforded to people detained for removal purposes, for example, are very limited.
Moreover, Malta has no mechanism to identify and determine statelessness, and no stateless protection status. Data on the stateless population is therefore limited, with figures available only for the very small number of stateless people who acquire Maltese citizenship and refused asylum-seekers recorded as ‘nationality not known’ who cannot be returned and may or may not be stateless.
We’d like to thank UNHCR Malta for assisting us in our research and drafting.
This post was prepared by Emma Pahkala, Intern at aditus foundation.