Human rights in Malta in 2021: the EU’s Rights Agency reports

The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) released the Fundamental Rights Report 2022 that assesses the key developments in the areass of fundamental rights from 2021, achievements and shortcomings. The report dives into many areas, with Malta featuring many times for the country’s shortcomings in the protection of fundamental rights, and for its achievements. This blogpost gives an overview of how Malta features in the FRA report, providing an interesting insight into human rights in Malta in 2021.

The report begins by discussing social rights and equality post-Covid-19 Pandemic, highlighting Malta’s plan to assess its unemployment benefit’s system, and to fund technological advancements to promote access to health care. Malta, among other EU Member States, plans to promote the active participation of persons with disabilities in social life through the recovery and Resilience Facility.

The report mentions the plan for an NHRI to replace the current National Commission for the Promotion of Equality for Men and Women. Malta was also praised for their recent inclusion of sexual orientation, racial origin and religion in the data collected by the Census of Population and Housing 2021. FRA reported that EU citizens and family members experience discrimination on the basis of their nationality where non-Maltese EU citizens are required to present pay-slips as proof of social security before receiving treatment from public healthcare providers, whereas Maltese citizens are only asked to present identity cards. 

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Legal training on European Court cases in asylum

In April, our Legal Officer, participated in a training on case law developed by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) with relevance for asylum law. This was organised by the Academy of European Law (ERA) in Strasbourg. 

The training provided in depth knowledge on the ECHR approach in asylum cases. Experienced speakers presented the Court’s approach in non-refoulement cases, detention cases, interim measures and the right to family life. The participants could visit the Court and meet the very experienced lawyers working there. 

The seminar was attended by lawyers in private practice, judges, European and national civil servants and other legal practitioners dealing with asylum law.

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Vacancy Announcements

We are happy to publish these vacancy announcements and receive your applications! The below specifications may be downloaded here (.pdf).

Recruitment Policies

aditus foundation is an independent, voluntary and non-profit organisation established with a mission to monitor, act and report on access to fundamental human rights. Our work includes advocacy, research, capacity building and provision of pro bono legal services in the field of asylum, migration, LGBTIQ+ rights and individual rights and freedoms.

We are seeking to recruit motivated individuals to join our team of human rights advocates in Malta. Our team consists of 4 permanent staff members, supported by a dynamic group of interns and trainees.

aditus is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. We encourage applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, marital status, citizenship, and (dis)ability.

Primary Responsibilities

The Legal Officer is primarily responsible for the provision of legal services to clients in the fields of asylum and migration. This includes individual case-work, as well as other projects involving research, writing and advocacy. The Legal Officer forms part of our Pro Bono Unit and reports to the Director.

Individual case-work with clients covers the following activities:

  • Delivery of information to asylum-seekers on all matters relating to the asylum procedure;
  • Preparation of appeals against negative decisions taken by the International Protection Agency. This involves researching and drafting submissions, and participating in the hearings of the second instance authority (the International Protection Appeals Tribunal);
  • Preparation of appeals against negative Dublin decisions and of subsequent applications;
  • Litigation relating to challenging detention of asylum-seekers and other migrants;
  • Assistance with applications for national protection, namely Temporary Humanitarian Protection, and with applications for other special residence documents;
  • Appeals against rejections of social security applications (e.g., unemployment benefits, housing benefits, etc.) involving asylum-seekers, international protection beneficiaries or other migrants;
  • Participation and assistance with the preparation of cases for strategic litigation in national and international fora (e.g., ECHR, UN mechanisms, etc);
  • Assisting clients during client drop-in days and visiting clients in open and closed centres;
  • General human rights support to asylum-seekers, beneficiaries of international/national protection and failed asylum-seekers.
Other Responsibilities

Together with the above, the Legal Officer will be involved in the following:

  • Research and drafting of the Malta reports for the Asylum Information Database (AIDA);
  • Supervision of one or more Legal Interns;  
  • Participation in various meetings, seminars and trainings regularly organised in Malta or overseas;
  • Work closely with and provide policy analysis and legal expertise to the other team members, this would include participation in advocacy activities.
Required Qualifications

We are looking for a candidate who can effectively demonstrate the following:

  • University degree in law or legal studies, having covered refugee law and international human rights law;
  • At least 3 years’ experience working in the area of asylum;
  • Experience working and communicating with marginalised or vulnerable communities;
  • Working knowledge of the Common European Asylum System;
  • Excellent research and drafting skills (English);
  • Willingness to travel for seminars and conferences, as these arise;
  • Fluency in English;
  • Ability to work in a small team and in a fast-paced environment;
  • A commitment to diversity which respects differences of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, religion and ability. In particular, a commitment to respect the Code of Conduct of the Malta Refugee Council.
Offer

We are able to offer the following to the selected candidate:

  • A one-year full-time position, with the possibility of this being converted to an indefinite contract;
  • Salary package that is commensurate with experience;
  • Statutory vacation and sick leave;
  • A flexible and family-friendly working environment;
  • A fun and committed group of colleagues!
Application Procedure

Please send applications to Katarzyna De Wilde, our Programmes Officer, at katarzynadewilde@aditus.org.mt, attaching a (1) covering letter, (2) updated CV with at least 2 references and (3) 2 short writing samples by not later than 5 March 2021.

All applications should include ‘Legal Officer position’ in the subject line.

Primary Responsibilities

The primary role of the Case Officer is to support our Pro Bono Unit in the provision of legal services to individual clients, primarily in the field of asylum and migration. This includes the provision of individualised support to clients, administrative support to our team and research into relevant laws and policies. The Case Officer forms part of our Pro Bono Unit and reports to the Director.

Individual case-work with clients covers the following activities:

  • Client onboarding and registration;
  • Preparation and carrying out of visits to open and closed centres;
  • Follow-up with government departments, agencies and other public or private service-providers;
  • Background research relating to client work and litigation;
  • Assisting with non-litigation advocacy and outreach work in the communities;
  • Follow-up with specific clients;
  • General human rights support to asylum-seekers, beneficiaries of international/national protection and failed asylum-seekers.
Required Qualifications

We are looking for a candidate who can demonstrate the following:

  • University degree in law, legal studies, human rights, humanitarian action, international relations or related field.
  • At least 1 years’ experience working in the area of human rights or related field;
  • Experience working and communicating with marginalised or vulnerable communities;
  • Fluency in English. Knowledge of Maltese will be considered an advantage;
  • Ability to work in a small team and in a fast-paced environment;
  • A commitment to diversity which respects differences of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, religion and ability. In particular, a commitment to respect the Code of Conduct of the Malta Refugee Council.
Offer

We are able to offer the following to the selected candidate:

  • A one-year full-time position, with the possibility of this being converted to an indefinite contract;
  • Salary package that is commensurate with experience;
  • Statutory vacation and sick leave;
  • A flexible and family-friendly working environment;
  • A fun and committed group of colleagues!
Application Procedure

Please send applications to Katarzyna De Wilde, our Programmes Officer, at katarzynadewilde@aditus.org.mt, attaching a (1) covering letter, (2) updated CV with at least 2 references by not later than 5 March 2021.

All applications should include ‘Case Officer position’ in the subject line.

Out of the Shadows: giving a voice to sex workers in Malta

The Project Researcher will be engaged to carry out research within the ambit of the project Out of the Shadows: giving a voice to sex workers in Malta, funded through the Voluntary Organisations Project Scheme 2021..

Out of the Shadows seeks to create a safe space for sex workers in Malta to talk about their lives, experiences and dreams. Their stories will allow the nation to better understand the human complexities of sex work. This is being done within the context of the nationwide discussion on the reform of policy and legislation on sex work.  

Out of the Shadows will run from 1 March 2021 to end February 2022.

The Project Researcher will report to the Project Leader and will be able to carry out services from our office or remotely. It will however be necessary for the Project Researcher to be available to meet individuals in person during the course of the research, as well as to attend project briefings at regular intervals.

The Researcher will produce a publication that will give a much-needed voice to a community that is often shrouded in shame, discrimination, poverty and marginalisation.

Responsibilities of the Researcher

The Researcher will be responsible for the following activities:

  • Formulation of a research plan based on best practice, sound ethical considerations and similar initiatives at the European/International level;
  • Desk-research;
  • Engagement with relevant governmental and non-governmental stakeholders;
  • Qualitative interviews with sex workers from diverse backgrounds, including – as far as possible: men, women, LGBTIQ+ persons, Maltese and non-Maltese;
  • Drafting of a report giving a comprehensive understanding of the situation of sex workers in Malta, including a series of legal and policy recommendations;
  • Participation in dissemination activities, both general and targeted to specific stakeholders.
Required Qualifications

We are looking for a candidate who can demonstrate the following:

  • University degree in anthropology, sociology, public policy, law, youth and community studies, social policy or social work, psychology, gender studies, or an equivalent comparable professional qualification;
  • Experience in carrying out qualitative research;
  • Experience working and communicating with marginalised or vulnerable communities;
  • Excellent research and drafting skills in English;
  • Fluency in Maltese will be considered to be an advantage;
  • Ability to work in a small team and in a fast-paced environment;
  • A commitment to fundamental human rights, in particular to diversity which respects differences of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, religion and ability.
Offer

We are able to offer the following to the selected service-provider:

  • A service agreement lasting until mid-February 2022;
  • The estimated value of the contract between Eur 2,000 – 2,500, commensurate with experience and expertise;
  • Administrative support from the aditus team, including use of our office, equipment and logistics;
  • Research support, particularly in identifying research participants and relevant stakeholders.
Application Procedure

Please send applications to Katarzyna De Wilde, our Programmes Officer, at katarzynadewilde@aditus.org.mt, attaching a (1) covering letter, (2) updated CV with at least 2 references and (3) 2 short writing samples by not later than 5 March 2021.

All applications should include ‘Out of the Shadows Researcher position’ in the subject line.



Some of these vacancies are financed by the European Social Fund.


Project Alert | How do we identify stateless persons in asylum scenarios?

We have just started work on a new project: Identification Tool for Statelessness in Asylum. Our efforts will seek to create a working tool allowing us – and our partners – to identify stateless persons in Malta’s asylum scenario.

Although there is no comprehensive and updated research on number of stateless persons in Malta, it is clear that a high percentage is present with asylum-seeking of refugee communities. These would be people who have either been stripped of their nationality due to, for example, ethnic conflicts or partition of states. Otherwise, they could be people who are not recognised by the state they deem to be their own because they might have lived their entire lives outside that country, in a refugee camp in a neighbouring state.

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Publication of our Compendium of Asylum Jurisprudence, Law & Policy

A collection of Maltese asylum case-law

The Compendium of Asylum Jurisprudence, Law & Policy – A Collection of Maltese Asylum case-law gathers the large collection of case-law decided by the Maltese courts and the European Court of Human Rights with respect to Malta in the field of asylum.

The Compendium is divided into six chapters. Chapter I on Procedural Issues takes into account the vast number of judgements that examined the nature of judicial review and constitutional review in the field of asylum and immigration, and the implications of challenging decisions by the Refugee Appeals Board and the Immigration Appeals Board.

Chapter II focuses on jurisprudence relating to asylum determination claims and highlights the restraints that our Courts have in reviewing decisions relating to asylum on the merits.

The examination on the grounds for detention, the remedies available at law for challenging detention and judgments on detention in the light of claims of breaches of fundamental right are tackled in Chapter III.

Chapter IV explores the importance of access to the territory and surrounding issues, such as border control and the principle of non-refoulement, and related judgements. The age assessment procedure is examined in Chapter V.

Finally, Chapter VI explores the content of and access to associated rights of beneficiaries of international protection in the light of the available Court jurisprudence and Ombudsman decisions.

Compendium of Asylum Jurisprudence, Law and Policy – Table of Contents       Author: Carla Camilleri; Research Assistants: Isabelle Sammut, Enya Tanti; Reviewed by: Neil Falzon

 

The Compendium is free of charge, however the costs of postage would need to be covered by anyone interested in receiving a copy by post. Charges for postage for both overseas and local postage for this publication is €3.50.  Payment can be made via a number of options: click here for information on payment.

It is important to indicate your name and include the word “Compendium” in the narrative of your transaction.  Please email: carlacamilleri@aditus.org.mt for more information.

Ultimately, we hope that the Compendium strengthens the quality of those judicial decisions that determine the extent to which refugees are able to effectively enjoy their fundamental human rights.

We hope that readers of this Compendium will take from it the wealth of knowledge gathered in its pages, and also appreciate the struggles refugees face as they seek to secure their human dignity in Malta.

Dr. Neil Falzon

Director aditus foundation

 


This publication has been funded through the Small Initiatives Support Scheme managed by the Malta Council for the Voluntary Sector.