Submission to the Human Rights Committee for Malta’s 3rd periodic review under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

aditus has submitted its report to the Human Rights Committee for Malta’s 3rd periodic review under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which will be held on the in the period between the 12th October to the 6th November 2020. The Human Rights Committee is the body of independent experts that monitors implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by its State parties.

As a party to the Covenant, Malta is obliged to submit regular reports, usually every 4 years to the Committee on how the rights are being implemented. The Committee examines each report and addresses its concerns and recommendations in the form of concluding observations.

The Human Rights Committee considers that the cooperation of NGOs and civil society working on the promotion and protection of human rights is essential for the promotion and implementation of the Covenant. Therefore, we work on submitting our input in a comprehensive report that covers the main issues that concern the Covenant and its implementation in Malta over the past 4 years. aditus is not the only NGO that has submitted its input this year and the other reports can be accessed here.

Our report covers the following issues and concludes with recommendations:

  • National Human Rights Institution     
  • Participation Of Women In Political And Public Life 
  • Sexual & Reproductive Health 
  • Freedom Of Thought, Expression And Assembly 
  • Racial Discrimination & Institutional Racism
  • Detention
  • Access To Protection, Non-Refoulment 
  • Justice
  • Right To Marry           
  • Rule Of Law   

The document can be accessed here or downloaded:

For more information contact our assistant director Carla Camilleri: [email protected]


Interview with an intern: Erna!

#KeepingUpWithTheInterns

Hey all! I hope you are all good and that you’re enjoying this blazing hot summer! It has been a while since we wrote a blog post but do not worry we are back again! Today I will be interviewing Erna Landgraf, who just finished an internship with aditus foundation. So without further ado let’s get to know Erna!


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Legal Update on the Captain Morgan Incident

This week aditus foundation, Jesuit Refugee Service Malta and Integra foundation filed three complaints in three different fora with respect to the situation of around 167 migrants currently being held aboard the private vessels Europa II and the Atlantis, just outside Malta’s territorial waters. The Maltese government chartered a number of private pleasure craft vessels to accommodate migrants rescued in Malta’s SAR zone in the period between the 28th and 29th April 2020 and 6th May 2020. The migrants were transferred from private and AFM vessels involved in the rescue to the chartered vessels and have remained there since the beginning of May.

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Larger than Life! Online Gallery

In ‘Larger Than Life!’ we commissioned 6 human rights posters from established local artists: Ed DingliSarah Maria SciclunaMagda AzabSeb Tanti BurlóLuke CaruanaDaniela Attard. Our idea was to produce posters unlike our usual NGO poster. Instead, we wanted stunning artworks that happen to be posters grappling with a human rights theme.

PURCHASE YOUR POSTER:

These posters are now available for sale, with proceeds going towards our human rights work. The artworks come in 2 sizes and are perfect for filling up your home or office space!

  • Limited edition of 3: 1m x 0.7m, printed on FineArt Baryta paper (350gsm) @ €250
  • Limited edition of 25: A3, mounted on foamboard @ €25.

If you are interested in the artworks for your home or office, get in touch.


Born UN/equal
Seb Tanti Burló

Article 1 – All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

This article sets the tone for the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. It’s a nice boomer belief, but seventy years later it is very, very, very far from our reality. Just look around you.

Born UN/equal is a riff off of Philip Castle’s famous poster design for Stanley Kubrick’s film Full Metal Jacket.


Remembrance
Sarah Maria Scicluna


This work is a memorial for all those who lost their lives crossing the Mediterranean Sea, in support of all those who have lost family and friends in such tragedies. While newspapers and official reports mostly focus on statistics of lost lives, many times the people left grieving are forgotten and left without a place for mourning.


This work is done line-by-line in a very repetitive manner, which is representative of both the surface of the sea and the ever-rising tally numbers.


Architects of our destiny
Magda Azab

Despite close to 100 years having passed since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, rights that seem obvious to me are unfortunately not always guaranteed for everyone in this world.

Wondering which aspects to highlight, I decided to represent what I think they all have in common and make them fundamental, namely to guarantee us the possibility of being architects of our destiny and none of us should be denied that. We are all human beings worthy of happiness and justice regardless of where we’re born, of our cultures, customs, lifestyles or religions.


Global Injustice
Luke Caruana

The wealthiest and most developed countries in the world are largely to blame for the cataclysmic effects of climate change. However, as we have already seen, these countries are not the ones that will suffer the most from these drastic weather changes. It is the impoverished countries that are facing the gravest consequences. Ecological disasters and poor harvests are increasing inequality and political instability.

The melting globe interprets the climate injustice we are experiencing as the rich (Global North) are able to buy their way out of the climate crisis while the poor (Global South) are forgotten.


The Promised Land
Ed Dingli

Entire lives left behind. Moments, memories, families, friends left behind. There is no choice except to make the journey to the promised land. We can see it so clearly now, on the horizon. The human rights declaration a beacon of hope, our moral compass by which the ship should sail. Except, between us and safety, a few more obstacles to overcome. The sea, in all its power and unpredictability, the coast guards, whose side will they be on?

And the locals, our new neighbours, will they welcome us? Will they understand our ways, our language, our culture? Hopefully they will understand that all we want, is to be safe.


27
Daniela Attard

Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.”

In this digital piece we explore visually the interconnectivity of the arts, culture and sciences and their ability to grow and flourish in any community. That is, given that anyone and everyone is allowed to participate and contribute.


With the support of:

KK & ACM logo2


National Media Report on the representation in the media of suspects and accused persons

Project Partners: Hungarian Helsinki Committee (Lead Partner), aditus foundation, Fair Trials Europe, Human Rights House Zagreb, Mérték, Rights International Spain, Vienna University. Supported by: This project is funded by the European Union’s Justice Programme (2014 – 2020)

According to EU Directive (EU) 2016/343 on the strengthening of certain aspects of the presumption of innocence and of the right to be present at the trial in criminal proceeding proceedings, Member States must ensure that suspects and accused persons are not presented as being guilty, in court or in public through the use of measures of physical restraint such as handcuffs, glass boxes, cages and leg irons.

aditus, together with the Hungarian Helsinki Committee and partners (Fair Trials Europe, Human Rights House Zagreb, Mérték, Rights International Spain and the Vienna University), have been working together to increase knowledge and sensitivity to the presumption of innocence among professionals and the public. The Importance of Appearances: How Suspects and Accused Persons are presented in the Courtroom, in Public and in the Media project page can be accessed on this link.

Over the past year the aditus team, coordinated by our Assistant Director Carla Camilleri, has been carrying out a media review in order to collect and analyse data on the media representation of suspects and accused persons at all stages of the arrest and subsequent legal proceedings in Malta. This process included a sampling phase spanning a number of months of all news reporting relating to arrests of suspects or criminal court proceedings in printed newspapers, online portals and TV broadcasts in both the Maltese and English language press. The ultimate purpose of the research was to identify good and bad practice regarding the presumption of innocence in various sectors of the media. Stories were selected and coded by all project partners in their respective countries in accordance with the guidelines and procedures developed by the Vienna University team.

The results of the Maltese media review were collated into a National Media Report, which can be read in full here. The Report gives an overview of the laws, legal guidelines and legal framework relating to the media and criminal justice. It also gives a contextual outline of the media landscape in Malta, focusing on printed media and their websites, online news portals and also television broadcasts.

In the course of the research, the main legal provisions regulating the portrayal of suspects in the media that were identified are the following:

  • Requirements as to Standards and Practice applicable to News Bulletins and Current Affairs: persons accused of criminal matters should not be projected as if they are already found guilty and the principle of presumption of innocence must be fully respected. Trial by the media before any court judgement is delivered must be avoided at all times and care should be taken to avoid broadcasting repetitive footage that might prejudice the accused’s right to a fair trial.
  • Juvenile Court Act: newspaper reports, or sound or television broadcasts are prohibited from revealing the name, address or school, or include any particulars that may lead to the identification, of any child or young person under the age of 16 in criminal proceedings. The publication of any picture in any newspaper or on television as being or including a picture of any child or young person in any criminal proceedings, before the Juvenile Court and also the Criminal Court, is also prohibited.
  • Code of Journalistic Ethics: all reports of crimes and court proceedings should be strictly factual and a clear distinction should be made and explained between the facts and the expression of opinion. The naming of minors in court reporting is prohibited.

The findings of the media review of the reports and broadcasts from the selected television programmes, newspapers and online websites resulted a number of trends that may negatively influence the perception of suspects or accused persons as guilty. In this regard, a worrying trend was noted in relation to the use of images and film of the suspect on entering the Court building. Several incidences were recorded in which suspects were led by the Police through a pedestrian area and into the Court buildings through the front doors, as opposed to the back entrance. In this way reporters and journalists would publish or broadcast photographs or footage of suspects being led into Court handcuffed and escorted by a number of police officers. The negative portrayal of suspects or accused persons could potentially influence a person’s perception of their guilt and any future trial.

In one extreme example, a suspect was charged in Court the day after he was arrested, wearing a white forensic suit with his hands handcuffed behind his back. The suspect was made to walk in a busy pedestrian area, escorted by 3 police officers and enter the Court through the front doors as opposed to through the back entrance

Suspect being escorted to Court through a pedestrian street handcuffed and in white forensic suit

The research also highlighted that reporters and journalists from all media types consistently made explicit reference to the ethnicity and nationality of the alleged perpetrators. Frequently, the headlines would use nationality as the descriptor, for example “A Serb”, “Two Syrians” or “Russian with Maltese citizenship“, whilst no further descriptors are used for Maltese suspects, for example “double murder suspect still to be questioned”.

The use of visual representation which shows police officers, handcuffs and otherwise threatening representation of the defendants is also very common to newspapers, online portals and television broadcasters. However, it was also noted that only a few examples in which explicit reference to previous convictions were mentioned, whilst no explicit reference to guilt of the defendant were found in the sampled reports.

In the coming months an in-depth report on the legal framework regulating the use of restraining measures on suspects and accused persons, which also includes practical experiences of stakeholders in the field, will be published.

For more information contact our project contact point, Carla ([email protected]). You can also Subscribe to our News and Updates to be kept updated on this and all other projects and initiatives.

Measures of Restraints