Hey all! I hope all of you are doing well! Today I will be writing about something that aditus foundation works a lot on: our work on migrant detention. To help me understand this topic and the current situation better I decided to interview our Director, Dr. Neil Falzon.
To start off, I asked him to explain the concept of migrant detention: “Detention is when people’s liberty is entirely taken away from them.”
As he was talking, I started to picture Malta’s detention as a form of imprisonment. Neil agreed with me, and told me that the detention centres “look and feel like prisons, with bars on the windows, guards everywhere and a highly securitised space!” He also added that “detained persons are not allowed to leave the detention centre and live under very strict conditions.”
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.
We are shocked at the lack of sensitivity expressed in the recent statement of the MUMN. Ample research and our own experiences confirm the severe psychological harm caused by detention: it causes desperation and serious harm. These are otherwise healthy men, women and children who are locked up – often without any legal basis – in living conditions best described as awful and undignified. Too often we witness self-harm, suicide attempts and other actions that the Union brushes off as ‘abuses of the system’.
For us, these are not abuses but the extremely worrying effects of a policy that entirely dehumanises people who, very often, are already suffering from trauma and other severe mental health issues. We see such cases on a weekly basis and are deeply saddened that this is the treatment Malta has chosen to offer them.
It’s November already and 2020 is almost over, so is my internship. I still remember sending my CV and being interviewed by aditus back in February of this year. The feeling of excitement accompanied by concern that I had regarding whether they will let me in the aditus family and accept me as a human rights intern. Also, whether they would see me suitable for such an internship. Lucky Rimaz, they did, and here I am reaching the end of this amazing full-of-experience as a Human Rights Intern with aditus foundation!
I still remember the first week of the internship: it’s called reading week, where I read about aditus’ previous and current projects. It was in that week where I realized that I am in the right place for human rights. I remember facing challenges in understanding some projects, but that was the aim behind reading week: to read, observe and ask whenever in doubt. Also, by reading up about previous projects, I have built up an idea on how aditus works and the type of projects that I feel keen on being involved in, if possible.
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.