New national report on asylum in Malta

 

aditus foundation and JRS Malta are happy to launch the 2017 AIDA report.

The Asylum Information Database (AIDA) is a project of the European Council on Refugees & Exiles (ECRE), producing national reports on the situation of asylum in a number of EU Member States and covering key areas such as asylum procedures, reception conditions and detention.  

It aims to provide up-to-date information on asylum practice in 23 European countries, which is accessible to researchers, advocates, legal practitioners and the general public. The database also seeks to promote the implementation and transposition of EU asylum legislation reflecting the highest possible standards of protection in line with international refugee and human rights law and based on best practice.

The 2017 AIDA report on Malta was jointly researched and prepared by aditus foundation and JRS Malta, and it was edited by ECRE. Together with the comprehensive overview of the asylum procedures and updated figures, the 2017 AIDA report highlights the changes in the way the Dublin procedure is now carried out in Malta, the use of accelerated procedures for applicants coming from safe countries of origin, the reception conditions at the Initial Reception Centre and the concerns remaining  regarding the detention of applicants for international protection.

The full report can be downloaded here.


New national report on asylum in Malta

Today the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) published the country report covering all aspects of asylum in Malta. Published within the Asylum Information Database project (AIDA), the country report provides valuable information on legal and policy issues, as well as an insight into realities on the ground.

AIDA is a database containing information on asylum procedures, reception conditions, detention and content of international protection across 20 countries.

As with all country reports, the Malta report is the most comprehensive document on asylum in Malta, an extremely useful reference tool for law- and policy-makers, judiciary, NGOs, academics, etc.

The Malta report was prepared by aditus foundation and JRS Malta.

We hope you’ll find this report useful in your work, and thank all entities that provided information for our research.


Our work at EU level supported by Government

Today we joined a long list of other NGOs to receive financial support from Minister Helena Dalli, Minister for Social Dialouge, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties (MSDC), for our work at the EU level.

Through the Civil Society Fund the Ministry enables civil society organisations to be active players in our respective sectors, thereby bridging the gap between EU-level policy-making and Maltese grassroots realities.

“The objectives of the Civil Society Fund (CSF) are the following:

  • to assist CSOs to keep abreast with the developments occurring at an EU level;
  • to enable CSOs to better educate their members on EU matters related to their respective fields of competence; and
  • to enable CSOs to participate effectively in the decision-making process at a European level.”

We’ve been benefitting from the CSF for a number of years, particularly since we are keen to bring Malta’s migration/asylum realities on the EU agenda, and because we rely heavily on our networks to support our national advocacy, public awareness and litigation activities.

Specifically, the CSF contributes to our annual memberships with the Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM) and the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE). Through these memberships we receive regular news updates on EU legal and policy initiatives, and attend several training seminars and workshops that are aimed at influencing national and regional laws and policies.

The CSF contribution also enables our Director’s participation at ECRE’s Annual General Conferences, offering excellent networking and learning opportunities.

Importantly, the CSF also supports Neil’s participation in the meetings of the ECRE Board, where he represents ECRE’s member organisations based in the Mediterranean region.

“We’re extremely fortunate that the Ministry supports these kind of civil society activities.

This assistance makes the sector stronger and more effective, without impinging on our independence.”

csf2016aditus

Minister Helena Dalli


Social innovation for the integration and inclusion of refugees

ecre refugee incusion

The European Council of Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), in partnership with the Council of Europe and its network of Intercultural Cities, the US Mission to the EU, the Mission of Canada to the EU and the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), organized a seminar on social innovation for the integration and inclusion of refugees. Neil (Director) and Antonella (Programmes Officer) participated in the seminar.

The seminar, held in Brussels on 12 and 13 September 2016, aimed to look at  innovative methods to foster the participation of asylum-seekers and refugees in societies from arrival to the granting of citizenship or other long-term solution, with a special focus on participatory mechanisms, strategies and tools in order to prepare communities and cities for more inclusiveness.

The two-day seminar hosted speakers ranged from refugee groups to civil society organisations, cities, tech companies, start-ups, and private sector representatives from around Europe. We shared experiences, inspiring tools and successful policies for social integration of refugees. In our discussions, we explored how the challenge lies not only in responding to the most pressing reception needs, such as registration and accommodation, but also in finding new solutions for the effective and sustainable inclusion of refugees in a complex political, social and economic.

Interestingly, the use of technology emerged as one of the most innovative approaches to social change – housing, access to higher education, friendship and inclusion, language barriers, anti-discrimination tool, info provider – with the added value of putting solutions in the hands of refugees and practitioners.

Refugees’ access to higher education and the recognition of their qualifications was a major of discussion, together with strategies that align transformative change efforts made by policymakers and social actors such as NGOs, health services, researchers, foundations, diaspora communities, etc.

“Innovation culture, social innovators, tech approach, fast mobilisation, innovative and entrepreneurial strategies…quite an intense brainstorming! The field of humanitarian innovation presents several transformational challenges relating to refugee inclusion in Europe.

I am looking forward to talking more about this innovation in a number of fields: health & care, education, work integration, sports, microcredit & insurance, housing and digital inclusion.” (Antonella Sgobbo, Programmes Officer)

ecre refugee inclusion2


Admissibility, responsibility and safety in European asylum procedures

In the implementation of their international obligations, European and EU states have devised sophisticated asylum systems based on complex procedural tools. In some cases, tools are designed and used for the purpose of avoiding responsibility for refugees, because they allow claims to be dismissed as inadmissible before looking at the substance of the claim.

The recent EU-Turkey deal and the European Commission’s proposal for harmonised asylum procedures under an Asylum Procedures Regulation, for instance, revolve around concepts such as “safe third country” and “first country of asylum”.

A report launched today by the Asylum Information Database (AIDA), managed by the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), documents the limited and fragmented application of admissibility and safe country concepts in 20 European countries.

“The latest reform of the Common European Asylum System brings the concepts of admissibility, responsibility and safety to the forefront of European asylum procedures, by introducing an obligation on Member States to deem applications inadmissible on the basis of ‘first country of asylum’ and ‘safe third country’ grounds”, says Minos Mouzourakis, AIDA Coordinator.

“Yet such a move seems ill-fitted in the absence of evidence-based knowledge on the use and interpretation of these concepts throughout the continent.”

The recent introduction of broad lists of “safe third countries” in countries such as Hungary, as well as the pressure placed on Greece to apply the concept following the EU-Turkey deal, run counter to practice in countries with longer-entrenched safe country concepts in asylum procedures. Countries with longer experience, and often judicial guidance, in the application of the “safe third country” concept have clarified that an asylum seeker cannot be considered to have a “sufficient connection” with a third country merely on the basis of transit or short stay.

The report also discusses the implementation of the Dublin Regulation and the emergency relocation scheme, two instruments regulating the allocation of asylum responsibility within the EU. As far as relocation is concerned, despite extremely slow rates of implementation in Europe, countries such as France and Portugal have designed processes for the swift processing of claims by persons relocated to their territory and their allocation to the different regions where applicants will be accommodated.

Drawing on the AIDA report, ECRE calls on European countries and EU institutions to:

  • Proactively publish detailed statistics on key elements of their asylum procedures, such as inadmissibility decisions and the application of the Dublin Regulation, to promote evidence-based debates on the functioning of and challenges facing their asylum systems;
  • Retain the 1951 Refugee Convention as the standard of international protection and apply the “first country of asylum” and “safe third country” concepts only to an asylum seeker who has already been recognised as a refugee or may be recognised as a refugee in line with the Convention, and may effectively benefit from such protection;
  • Rigorously interpret the “sufficient connection” criterion for the purpose of the “safe third country” concept, so as to refrain from declaring asylum applications inadmissible on the sole reason that an asylum seeker has transited through a country considered safe;
  • Firmly suspend the use of the Dublin procedure in respect of countries demonstrating human rights risks, in line with national and European jurisprudence. Clear suspension of Dublin procedures will ensure legal certainty to asylum seekers, but also more efficient administration and allocation of national authorities’ administrative and financial resources;
  • Step up their efforts to honour the commitments set out in the Relocation Decisions, building on experience and good practices developed by the Member States implementing relocation to date. States should also refrain from initiating Dublin procedures regarding the countries benefitting from the relocation scheme, Italy and Greece, as the application of the Dublin Regulation is counter-intuitive to the aim of alleviating pressure on those countries’ asylum systems.

Notes to Editors:

The Asylum Information Database (AIDA) is a database managed by ECRE, containing information on asylum procedures, reception conditions and detention across 20 countries. This includes 17 EU Member States (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Germany, Spain, France, Greece, Croatia, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, United Kingdom) and 3 non-EU countries (Switzerland, Serbia, Turkey).

The overall goal of the database is to contribute to the improvement of asylum policies and practices in Europe and the situation of asylum seekers by providing all relevant actors with appropriate tools and information to support their advocacy and litigation efforts, both at the national and European level.

In Malta, the AIDA partners and researchers are aditus foundation and JRS Malta.

THE REPORT IS AVAILABLE HERE.