Malta can and must do better!

Joint NGO appeal to the Prime Minister to resolve the Alan Kurdi standoff

We strongly urge Malta to allow the disembarkation of the over 60 people rescued over nine days ago by the Alan Kurdi. In doing so, Malta will ensure a humane end to this incident that prioritises the preservation of lives over political and legal considerations. Whilst we appreciate that these considerations are of course central to the determination of responsibilities and obligations, these should not override or ignore the need to ensure the safety of all rescued persons and of the rescuing crew.

We remind Malta and the European Union that Libya cannot be considered a safe port of disembarkation. Countless reports have been revealing the appalling human rights violations suffered by migrants in Libya. Furthermore, the recent escalation of violence in the country highlights the increased lack of security for Libyans and migrants alike. Forcibly returning migrants, as also Libyan nationals, to Libya would expose them to torture, sexual violence, arbitrary detention, discrimination and – in some cases – death.

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We express solidarity and deep sorrow

Joint NGO Statement on the murder of Lassibe Souleymane

We are deeply saddened by news of the death of Lassibe Souleymane, brutally shot in Ħal Far over the weekend. We also wish all the very best to the two other victims of the shooting, and hope they recover without permanent or serious damage. Whatever the actual reasons for this terrible incident, it affects not only the three victims but the entire migrant community in creating a sense of fear, lack of security and isolation. It also affects us all, a nation jolted by an appalling act of violence.

As we eagerly await the outcome of the investigations, we urge Malta’s highest authorities to unequivocally condemn all forms of violence – whatever their motivation. We caution that, should it emerge that this was in fact a racially-motivated incident, Malta would be called upon to face far more than an act of assault, but far graver crime aimed at instilling terror in entire communities.

Secondly, we expect the Malta Police Force to step up: commit all necessary resources to bring the perpetrators to justice; ensure the survivors are treated as victims of crime and guaranteed all the support and protection they need.

Importantly we underline the need to comfort and express solidarity with all residents of Ħal Far, assuring that all will be done to restore good order and security for the locality’s communities.


Statement endorsed by the following organisations:

  1. aditus foundation
  2. African Media Association Malta
  3. Allied Rainbow Communities (arc)
  4. Blue Door English
  5. The Critical Institute
  6. Department for Inclusion and Access to Learning, University of Malta
  7. Drachma LGBTI
  8. Drachma Parents
  9. Foundation for Shelter and Support to Migrants
  10. Integra Foundation
  11. International Association for Refugees
  12. Isles of the Left
  13. Jesuit Refugee Service (Malta)
  14. Kopin
  15. LGBTI Plus Gozo
  16. Malta Emigrants’ Commission
  17. Malta Humanist Association
  18. Malta LGBTIQ Rights Movement
  19. Men Against Violence
  20. Moviment Graffitti
  21. National Foster Care Association Malta
  22. Richmond Foundation
  23. Solidarity with Migrants
  24. SOS Malta
  25. Spark15
  26. Sudanese Community Malta
  27. Victim Support Malta
  28. Women’s Rights Foundation

Making Malta Home! NGO Response to the Launch of the Specific Residence Authorisation policy

We are happy to welcome the Specific Residence Authorisation policy, launched today by the Ministry for Home Affairs and National Security and the Parliamentary Secretariat for Reforms, Citizenship and Simplification of Administrative Processes. The policy will ensure the security, stability and dignity for those migrants who, throughout the years, have invested their energies and dreams into making Malta their home.

As announced today, the new policy will be accessible by current holders of the Temporary Humanitarian Protection N status. It will also be accessible by persons who cannot be returned to their countries of origin and who, during their time in Malta, have demonstrated integration efforts.

The SRA policy will therefore offer eligible persons the possibility to make the significant shift from a temporary – and therefore insecure – situation to one that embraces the principles of transparency and predictability. Importantly, the SRA policy will also contribute towards combating migrant poverty and the anxiety that inevitably ensues from living in an eternal limbo.

Essentially, we appreciate that the SRA policy is a clear acknowledgement by the relevant authorities of the personal, social, financial and other contributions made by so many migrants in Malta.

In doing so, Malta is taking a bold step towards fostering a truly inclusive society.

We are looking forward to the implementation of the new policy, and offer our support to ensure its smooth operation.

Finally, we thank the Ministry for the consultation process that permitted the ‘This is Home’ campaign to share its views in a frank and open manner. We reiterate our support of this form of engagement, and look forward to other similar interactions with the Ministry on matters of mutual concern.


‘This is Home’ campaign is composed of:

aditus foundation, African Media Association Malta, The Critical Institute, Foundation for Shelter and Support to Migrants, Gender Liberation, Integra Foundation, International Association for Refugees, JRS Malta, KOPIN, Malta Emigrants’ Commission, Maltese-Serbian Community, MGRM, Migrant Women Association in Malta, Moroccan Community in Malta, Moviment Graffitti, Organisation for Friendship in Diversity, the People for Change Foundation, the Platform of Human Rights Organisations in Malta, SKOP, Solidarity with Migrants Group, SOS Malta, Spark 15, Sudanese Community, Third Country National Support Network, Women’s Rights Foundation.

 


“WHERE HAS OUR HUMANITY GONE?” JOINT NGO STATEMENT ON THE QORMI FARM HOUSING OVER 100 MIGRANTS

We are extremely shocked and saddened at the discovery of around 120 migrants living in absolute squalor in a Qormi farm. As details of the incident continue to unfold, a story of exploitation, abuse and dehumanisation is emerging. It is disconcerting that some people are able to treat fellow human beings with such contempt and disregard for their dignity.

It is now a well-established fact that sustaining economic growth in Malta is dependent on diverse forms of migrant labour. And yet, there appears to be very little acknowledgement of the fact that the migrant labour force forms the backbone of economic growth. Without this acknowledgement, there remains very little space for respect, let alone appreciation and inclusion.

As a result of Malta’s steady economic growth more and more people, across the socio-economic spectrum, are being forced out by the relentless rise in real estate and rental prices. For an increasing number of people, a month’s salary will not cover a month’s rent.

The shortage of affordable and decent housing is affecting hundreds, if not thousands, of persons including Maltese, Europeans and migrants.

A toxic blend of housing costs, labour exploitation and racism ensures that many African migrants are positioned at the far end of the socio-economic spectrum. Over the past few months there have been more and more reports of migrants being forced to pay obscene prices to live in the most abhorrent and inhumane conditions simply because they have nowhere else to go.

This situation is unacceptable and something must be done in order to curb this profit-driven assault on human dignity.

However, evicting migrants with no pre-warning and providing no viable alternatives cannot and must not be part of the strategy. The fundamental human right to housing requires the Government to ensure that all persons are able to secure a roof over their heads, especially the most vulnerable. In this particular case, we emphasise that the Government has a legal and moral responsibility to ensure that the welfare of the entire labour force be prioritised over economic growth and increasing profits for the few.

Specifically, the competent authorities have an urgent responsibility to work with all the relevant agencies to ensure access to dignified accommodation. The Government must immediately pursue a strategy to ensure that decent and affordable housing is made available for all, regardless of where they fall on the economic ladder.

Furthermore, the Government is urged to take concrete action to implement the promised rent reform, taking into account the rent reform proposals put forward NGOs and other stakeholders, to address the skyrocketing rental prices that are hitting Malta’s most vulnerable populations hardest.

It is our duty, as a nation, to ensure that no person lives in such terrible conditions and that we value the humanity of all persons as we do our own. It is also our duty not to turn a blind eye to such terrible incidents, but to act promptly in order to prevent further human suffering and work towards making Malta a truly better place for all.


This press release is being issued by the following 28 organisations:

aditus foundation, African Media Association, Allied Rainbow Communities, Caritas Malta, Christian Life Community – CLC Malta, The Critical Institute, DrachmaLGBT, Drachma Parents Group, Integra Foundation, International Association for Refugees, JRS Malta, Justice and Peace Commission of the Archdiocese of Malta, KOPIN, Malta Emigrants’ Commission, Malta Humanist Association, Malta LBGTIQ Rights Movement (MGRM), Men Against Violence, Migrant Women Association, Moviment Graffitti, Platform of Human Rights Organisations in Malta (PHROM), Richmond Foundation, Solidarity with Migrants, SOS Malta, Spark15, St. Jeanne Antide Foundation (SJAF), Victim Support Malta, We Are, Women’s Rights Foundation.


‘This is Home’ campaign launch

On Saturday morning (16 December), aditus foundation, Integra Foundation and Jesuit Refugee Service Malta (JRS) officially launched the ‘This is Home’ campaign.

The aim of the campaign is to call on the government for a legal pathway to regularisation for all rejected asylum seekers who have lived in Malta for 5 years or more, and have not been returned to their country through no fault of their own.

Concretely, the campaign calls for this legal pathway to be ‘fair and impartial’, inscribed in law and publicly available, with the applicant’s integration efforts and links to Malta taken into consideration, not just their employment status.

The campaign is borne of the long overdue need to regularise those people living a precarious existence in Malta for many years, though all the while working, building social ties and contributing to Malta as their home. Many people in this group hold THPN, however this status is shrouded in secrecy since the criteria for obtaining it is not publicly available, and it is not even regulated by law.

This means that the Ministry can, seemingly arbitrarily, choose to stop renewing it, thereby throwing an entire community into panic. The fact that THPN is also directly linked to employment also means it is an unstable status, while failing to grant it to a family as a unit creates further problems for spouses and dependents.

Meanwhile, another cross-section of this group comprises a number of people living in Malta without any documents, who have succeeded in spite of these obstacles in building a life here.

This campaign is a very important step towards regularising a community that is already thriving in Malta. As Stella David, living in Malta since 2005, succinctly puts it:

Maltese people already know about us, it is the government that needs to recognise us and our efforts.

This campaign also has a wider impact that benefits Maltese society more generally. As Dr. Francois Mifsud attested at the launch, democracy subsists on encounters with diversity and bringing into the mainstream those people previously pushed towards the margins, and providing them with a pathway to regularisation, can only strengthen our democracy.

In line with its community-building nature, this campaign seeks to engage the efforts of the entire community. Anyone may sign the petition so as to help light the fire under a campaign that seeks to make Maltese society stronger for all.

Post by Helena Agathangelou, Legal Intern