Just published: our Annual Report for our activities in 2019

We’ve just published the Annual Report covering our activities for 2019. This report is a mandatory document for our reporting to the Commissioner for Voluntary Organisations as also a confirmation of our committment to transparency and accountability.

The report provides information on the activities, initiatives and engagements we worked on throughout the year. It also gives readers an insight into the major achievements and challenges we faced in the year. Importantly, it provides information on the human rights landscape of 2019 and our position within it.

The report is freely available on our Publications page, here.

This is my introduction to the Annual Report. We’re more than happy to provide more information on the Report’s content and our activities…just get in touch with us.


2019 will go down in history as one of Malta’s most tumultuous years. On-going investigations into the brutal assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia continued to unveil shocking stories of corruption at Malta’s highest political levels, including the Office of the Prime Minister and other Ministries, as well as in Malta’s most prominent and influential business circles. The impact on the nation was unprecedented, with upset crowds – led by civil society organisations – taking to the streets for several days with loud calls for justice, accountability and resignations. At the end of the year, the disgraced Prime Minister resigned as also the disgraced Minister for Tourism and the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff.

The scandals are nowhere near resolved and justice for Daphne and for the criminal activities she was in the process of revealing is far from being secured. In a recent opinion piece, I underlined that, as long as Joseph Muscat and Konrad Mizzi remain members of Parliament, Malta will remain besieged by corruption and criminal activity, unable to restore democracy.

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Asylum throughout 2019: AIDA report on Malta is now available!

aditus foundation is happy to announce the launch of the 2019 AIDA report.

The Asylum Information Database (AIDA) is a project of the European Council on Refugees & Exiles (ECRE), producing national reports on the situation of asylum in a number of EU Member States. The reports covers key areas such as asylum procedures, reception conditions and detention.  

It aims to provide up-to-date information on asylum practice in 23 European countries, which is accessible to researchers, advocates, legal practitioners and the general public. The database also seeks to promote the implementation and transposition of EU asylum legislation reflecting the highest possible standards of protection in line with international refugee and human rights law and based on best practice. The 2019 AIDA report on Malta was researched and prepared by aditus foundation and edited by ECRE.

Together with a comprehensive overview of asylum procedures and updated figures, the report highlights the main issues for the year 2019, in particular the significant increase of migrants disembarked in Malta following Search and Rescue operations leading to a renewed pressure on the reception system and the systematic and automatic detention of all asylum-seekers.

The full report can be downloaded here.


New national report on asylum in Malta

 

aditus foundation and JRS Malta are happy to launch the 2017 AIDA report.

The Asylum Information Database (AIDA) is a project of the European Council on Refugees & Exiles (ECRE), producing national reports on the situation of asylum in a number of EU Member States and covering key areas such as asylum procedures, reception conditions and detention.  

It aims to provide up-to-date information on asylum practice in 23 European countries, which is accessible to researchers, advocates, legal practitioners and the general public. The database also seeks to promote the implementation and transposition of EU asylum legislation reflecting the highest possible standards of protection in line with international refugee and human rights law and based on best practice.

The 2017 AIDA report on Malta was jointly researched and prepared by aditus foundation and JRS Malta, and it was edited by ECRE. Together with the comprehensive overview of the asylum procedures and updated figures, the 2017 AIDA report highlights the changes in the way the Dublin procedure is now carried out in Malta, the use of accelerated procedures for applicants coming from safe countries of origin, the reception conditions at the Initial Reception Centre and the concerns remaining  regarding the detention of applicants for international protection.

The full report can be downloaded here.


New national report on asylum in Malta

Today the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) published the country report covering all aspects of asylum in Malta. Published within the Asylum Information Database project (AIDA), the country report provides valuable information on legal and policy issues, as well as an insight into realities on the ground.

AIDA is a database containing information on asylum procedures, reception conditions, detention and content of international protection across 20 countries.

As with all country reports, the Malta report is the most comprehensive document on asylum in Malta, an extremely useful reference tool for law- and policy-makers, judiciary, NGOs, academics, etc.

The Malta report was prepared by aditus foundation and JRS Malta.

We hope you’ll find this report useful in your work, and thank all entities that provided information for our research.


Admissibility, responsibility and safety in European asylum procedures

In the implementation of their international obligations, European and EU states have devised sophisticated asylum systems based on complex procedural tools. In some cases, tools are designed and used for the purpose of avoiding responsibility for refugees, because they allow claims to be dismissed as inadmissible before looking at the substance of the claim.

The recent EU-Turkey deal and the European Commission’s proposal for harmonised asylum procedures under an Asylum Procedures Regulation, for instance, revolve around concepts such as “safe third country” and “first country of asylum”.

A report launched today by the Asylum Information Database (AIDA), managed by the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), documents the limited and fragmented application of admissibility and safe country concepts in 20 European countries.

“The latest reform of the Common European Asylum System brings the concepts of admissibility, responsibility and safety to the forefront of European asylum procedures, by introducing an obligation on Member States to deem applications inadmissible on the basis of ‘first country of asylum’ and ‘safe third country’ grounds”, says Minos Mouzourakis, AIDA Coordinator.

“Yet such a move seems ill-fitted in the absence of evidence-based knowledge on the use and interpretation of these concepts throughout the continent.”

The recent introduction of broad lists of “safe third countries” in countries such as Hungary, as well as the pressure placed on Greece to apply the concept following the EU-Turkey deal, run counter to practice in countries with longer-entrenched safe country concepts in asylum procedures. Countries with longer experience, and often judicial guidance, in the application of the “safe third country” concept have clarified that an asylum seeker cannot be considered to have a “sufficient connection” with a third country merely on the basis of transit or short stay.

The report also discusses the implementation of the Dublin Regulation and the emergency relocation scheme, two instruments regulating the allocation of asylum responsibility within the EU. As far as relocation is concerned, despite extremely slow rates of implementation in Europe, countries such as France and Portugal have designed processes for the swift processing of claims by persons relocated to their territory and their allocation to the different regions where applicants will be accommodated.

Drawing on the AIDA report, ECRE calls on European countries and EU institutions to:

  • Proactively publish detailed statistics on key elements of their asylum procedures, such as inadmissibility decisions and the application of the Dublin Regulation, to promote evidence-based debates on the functioning of and challenges facing their asylum systems;
  • Retain the 1951 Refugee Convention as the standard of international protection and apply the “first country of asylum” and “safe third country” concepts only to an asylum seeker who has already been recognised as a refugee or may be recognised as a refugee in line with the Convention, and may effectively benefit from such protection;
  • Rigorously interpret the “sufficient connection” criterion for the purpose of the “safe third country” concept, so as to refrain from declaring asylum applications inadmissible on the sole reason that an asylum seeker has transited through a country considered safe;
  • Firmly suspend the use of the Dublin procedure in respect of countries demonstrating human rights risks, in line with national and European jurisprudence. Clear suspension of Dublin procedures will ensure legal certainty to asylum seekers, but also more efficient administration and allocation of national authorities’ administrative and financial resources;
  • Step up their efforts to honour the commitments set out in the Relocation Decisions, building on experience and good practices developed by the Member States implementing relocation to date. States should also refrain from initiating Dublin procedures regarding the countries benefitting from the relocation scheme, Italy and Greece, as the application of the Dublin Regulation is counter-intuitive to the aim of alleviating pressure on those countries’ asylum systems.

Notes to Editors:

The Asylum Information Database (AIDA) is a database managed by ECRE, containing information on asylum procedures, reception conditions and detention across 20 countries. This includes 17 EU Member States (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Germany, Spain, France, Greece, Croatia, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, United Kingdom) and 3 non-EU countries (Switzerland, Serbia, Turkey).

The overall goal of the database is to contribute to the improvement of asylum policies and practices in Europe and the situation of asylum seekers by providing all relevant actors with appropriate tools and information to support their advocacy and litigation efforts, both at the national and European level.

In Malta, the AIDA partners and researchers are aditus foundation and JRS Malta.

THE REPORT IS AVAILABLE HERE.