We are thrilled to announce a new cooperation that will strengthen our fight against illegal detention in Malta. Throughout 2023, we will be cooperating with the German NGO PRO ASYL in all our detention activities. This cooperation will boost our #ThereAreAlternatives campaign, pushing for Malta to bring its practices in line with fundamental human rights law.
In particular, PRO ASYL is providing us with financial support that will allow our lawyers to be more present in the detention centres to meet detained persons and see to their legal needs. This cooperation is also ensuring that our lawyers are able to visit our clients with much-needed interpreters, and to provide the people we meet with Fact Sheets about their legal situation.
The Immigration Appeal Board is established under Malta’s Immigration Act. It is tasked with deciding appeals on a long and varied list of immigration decisions: visas, age assessments, detention of asylum-seekers, reception conditions, removal orders, Single Work Permits, Specific Residence Authorisation… Because this list is so long and because it affects a core element of people’s lives, we cannot underline how important this Board is in Malta’s migration regime.
We appear before this Board on a weekly basis. In most situations, our clients are appealing decisions to detain them or decisions stating that they are adults and not children. But we have (big) issues with the Board, from how the law establishes it to how it operates in practice. These issues are presented in a recently-published article here.
We are extremely happy to share with you the publication of the most comprehensive report on Malta’s asylum regime, covering 2022: the Asylum Information Database report (AIDA). This year, the report also includes a separate Annex providing detailed information on the implementation in Malta of the Temporary Protection Directive throughout 2022. The AIDA report is published by ECRE.
The report provides in-depth information on the various aspects of the asylum regime: asylum procedure, reception conditions, detention, content of international protection. It is based on months of desk research, complemented with information provided by various entities…who we sincerely thank for their cooperation.
Last month, I had the privilege to participate in a training organised by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights on the topic of Human Rights at International Borders: Monitoring, Safety and Security of Human Rights Defenders.
This week was a unique opportunity to take a step back from my daily duties as a Legal Officer at aditus foundation. In fact, it is extremely easy to get caught up in the busyness of providing legal assistance to the most at need in a period when migration policies are increasingly austere. I believe it is crucial to dedicate some time to think about what we do, why we do it, and how we do it in order to have the ‘bigger picture’ in mind and achieve greater goals.
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.