In yet another critique of Malta’s detention regime, yesterday the European Court of Human Rights ordered Malta to release seven children from a detention centre. In its ruling, the Court indicated that Malta should “ensure that the applicants’ conditions are compatible with Article 3 of the Convention and with their status as unaccompanied minors.”.
This decision, ordering Malta to release the children from detention, confirms that Malta is indeed detaining persons who are in most need of care and protection. It also underlines that this approach is simply unacceptable.
On 23-24 January, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) will hold two events in Brussels on the impact of immigration detention on children and on alternatives to detention for migrant children. On-line participation is also possible!
The events mark the end of the CADRE project, which the ICJ implemented jointly with national and international partners over the last two years. The project sought to promote the expansion, implementation and improvement of alternatives to detention for migrant children in full respect of their rights in the EU and to contribute to ending the resort to detention of children in migration.
We’ve just uploaded our key cases to our Publications page. Under the heading ‘Our cases’, you’ll now find the documents relating to the prominent cases we’ve brought before various tribunals and Courts. We’ve only uploaded finalised cases, meaning for now you won’t find anything relating to, for example, the Captain Morgan case.
In the section you’ll find key cases where we represented children challenging their detention before the Immigration Appeals Board, as well as habeas corpus decisions taken by the Court of Magistrates. Under Maltese law, a habeas corpus application may be filed by any persons who wishes to question the legality of their arrest and/or detention. This is an extremely urgent procedure, as it understands the mere potential of a person being detained in violation of the law. We’ve brought several such applications, mostly successful, against Malta’s terrible detention regime.
Throughout 2021 and 2022 we worked on the project that explored the use of alternatives to detention for children: the CADRE project. As part of the project, we developed and published training materials on alternatives to detention for migrant children
The materials cover the international and EU legal framework of alternatives to detention for children and related rights, such as the right to liberty and prohibition of immigration detention of children. The materials aim to support efforts to ensure that children are never detained for purposes of immigration control, in accordance with international standards.
Minors being hosted in the Dar Il-Liedna open shelter for unaccompanied children now live in fear of being arrested and detained at any moment following the arbitrary arrest of two Bangladeshi minors by the Principal Immigration Officer (PIO), based on controversial evidence that they were allegedly adults.
The two teenagers had been rescued at sea by the Armed Forces of Malta (AFM) and were disembarked in Malta on the 26th of May 2022. They were directly taken to detention in the so-called “China House” detention centre in Ħal Far and declared that they are minors at a later stage. They were released on the 21st of June 2022 after being confirmed as minors following an interview with social workers from the Agency for the Welfare of Asylum Seekers (AWAS) which is the Agency responsible for carrying out such assessments for unaccompanied minors (UMAS).