Understanding our work in relation to migrant detention – Interview with our Director

#KeepingUpWithTheInterns

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.

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“Detention causes desperation and serious harm!”


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. 

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A look @ the (Ir)Regular Love – Right to Marry Campaign

#KeepingUpWithTheInterns

Hey all! Hope you are ok and enjoying yourselves…despite the precautions. This week I am going to challenge myself and write on a topic that I am not to familiar with. It’s a topic I find very interesting and important. I am writing about aditus foundation’s ‘Right to Marry Campaign’.

To do so I decided to talk to our Assistant Director, Dr. Carla Camilleri.

first Off, What does this campaign consist of?

The (Ir)Regular Love – Right to Marry campaign is a 2019/2020 project that focuses on raising awareness and advocating for the right to marry for persons who are in an irregular situation in Malta. The project consisted of two strands consisting of:

  • Desk-research which resulted in the publication of the (Ir)Regular Love report.
  • Awareness raising, consisting of the production of a short information video and a campaign on social media and 3 major news portals. 
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Joint Statement: The EU must stop the criminalisation of solidarity with migrants and refugees

Brussels, 26 July 2019

The criminalisation of solidarity in Europe is soaring. Researchers and civil society have identified at least 49 ongoing cases of investigation and criminal prosecution in 11 Member States involving a total of 158 people in a recent study by the European research platform ReSOMA. The number of individuals criminalised for humanitarian activities has grown tenfold, from 10 people in 2015 to 104 in 2018.

The targets include volunteers, activists, NGOs, crew members of rescue ships, migrants’ family members, and also journalists, mayors and priests. The recent arrest of the Sea Watch 3 captain, Carola Rackete, is just the latest example of how people are being blamed for saving migrants’ lives and providing the humanitarian assistance which Member States are unwilling or unable to provide, despite being obliged to according to international and EU law.

Independent judges have found no sound evidence for convictions in most of these cases. This suggests that prosecutions are often being politically used to deter solidarity and create a hostile environment for migrants. Policing solidarity further involves suspicion, intimidation, harassment and disciplining against civil society, with long-term consequences for the rule of law, democratic accountability, social cohesion, freedom of association and fundamental rights in the EU. These misguided investigations fuel the negative image of migrants as criminals and perpetuate the perception of chaos at Europe’s borders.

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UN High Commissioner for Human Rights urges Malta to reconsider the charges against the 3 El Hiblu migrants

Taken from the OHCHR website, 7 May 2019.

We call on the authorities in Malta to reconsider the terrorism charges laid against three teenagers who were arrested on 28 March following the docking of the El Hiblu I commercial vessel in the country.

The charges relate to an incident that occurred at the end of March, when some 100 migrants attempting to flee Libya were rescued in international waters by a commercial vessel that was en route to Libya. The vessel reportedly rescued the migrants and initially informed them that they would be taken to Europe but then turned around to head back to Libya. The migrants protested in desperation and the ship was steered again toward Malta. The accused, aged 15, 16 and 19, have been charged under Maltese laws for allegedly hijacking the ship and forcing it to go to Malta. Some of the charges are punishable by life imprisonment. We understand that the three are due to appear in court on 20 May.

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