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. 

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Three Children Released From Illegal Detention Following Court Action

They had been detained illegally for 58 days.

On Friday 21 January, lawyers from aditus foundation secured the released of six men from their illegal detention at Safi Barracks. Three of them were children, as also confirmed by the Government’s agency responsible for assessing the age of unaccompanied children reaching Malta. In a similar Court application filed the same day by another detained young man, also represented by aditus’ lawyers, the Court of Magistrates regretfully failed to require the Government to explain the legal basis for his detention at Safi Barracks.  

The first application filed by the seven men was rejected on a pure formality, yet the immediate release of six of them was quickly confirmed by the same Government entities that, just a few minutes earlier, had denied having the legal authority to detain them. Although we remain baffled at this twist in events and in the dark as to who exactly was detaining them, we cannot hide the immense joy we felt when the six left the Court as free men. 

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New projects for 2021!

We’re happy to present the list of new projects we’ll be working on this year. These projects cover a broad range of issues…from statelessness to sex work from child detention to undocumented migrants…pretty much reflecting the needs we’ve identified in several sectors. Many of these initiatives will commence this year and flow into 2022. They join the projects we started last year, with the entire list giving you an idea of how busy we are but also of the human rights issues Malta still needs to address.

Contrary to what most people think, a long list of projects is not necessarily a good thing. Whilst it does mean that we’re able to address several human rights concerns, it also means that our work runs the risk of being fragmented and boxed within the constraints of specific projects: timelines, ear-marked budgets, constant reporting.

Human rights advocacy, by definition, is very difficult to squeeze into a finite project. Goals are generally long-term, targets not always reached and activities usually involve meeting stakeholders, initiating dialogue and other ‘soft’ elements that are hard to measure, evaluate and report on. Yet of course we count ourselves lucky that we have access to project funds to carry out our work, and thank all funding entities for these opportunities.

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Training materials on access to justice for migrant children

The FAIR project (Fostering Access to justice for Immigrant children’s Rights) was a two-year long project, which aimed at strengthening access to justice for migrant children in the EU. Migrant children in the EU face violations of their human rights every day. Lack of access to their families, to information, guardians and legal assistance, lack of access to housing or education, unlawful detention – are few examples of what the children suffer.

The results of the project are a number of practical training modules and learning tools to support lawyers in defending migrant children’s rights:

The materials include the following training modules:

0. Guiding principles and definitions,

I. Access to fair procedures including the right to be heard and to participate in proceedings,

II. Access to justice in detention,

III. Access to justice for economic, social and cultural rights,

IV. Access to justice in the protection of their right to private and family life,

V. Redress through international human rights bodies and mechanisms,

VI. Practical handbook for lawyers when representing a child.

These materials have been used in national trainings for lawyers organised by the ICJ-EI in Spain, Italy, Greece, Malta, Bulgaria, Ireland and Germany and include also practical training tools, such as case studies and warm-up questionnaires to guide possible future trainings.

Timeframe:

1 March 2016 – 1 March 2018

Project Partners:

International Commission of Jurists – European Institutions (Lead Partner), Greek Council for Refugees (GCR) (EL), aditus foundation (MT), Fundacion Raices (ES), Bundesfachverband Unbegleitete Minderjährige Flüchtlinge e.V. (B-UMF) (DE), Legal Clinic for Immigrant and Refugees (LCIR) (BG), Immigrant Council of Ireland (ICI) (IR), Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna (SSSA).

 

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Co-funded by the Rights, Equality and Citizenship (REC) Programme of the European Union.

Co-funded by the Rights, Equality and Citizenship (REC) Programme of the European Union and the Open Society Institute Budapest Foundation, and implemented in cooperation with the AIRE Center, Child Rights Connect, and the Associazione per gli Studi Giuridici sull’Immigrazione (ASGI) (Italy).