‘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


Youth, Not Status II Training Weekend

On 11th-12th of November aditus held the second Training Course of Youth, Not Status, the Erasmus+ project that aims to bring together young Europeans and young refugee/migrants (range of age 18-30 years old), to provide them with human rights information and skills necessary to structure ideas and strategies for them to inform national policy-making on youth themes.

The training took place at Aġenzija Żgħażagħ Youth Village Complex in St. Joseph High Road, Santa Venera, and gathered together 20 young learners of all ages between 17 and 28 and from different backgrounds and helped them explore and change the discourse on migration and to understand the challenges and potentials of cultural diversity, inclusion, social integration.

The first session on Saturday 11th fostered social cohesion and promote intercultural dialogue. Dr. Anne Bathily and Dr. Virginie Gailing canvassed concepts and addressed subjects through interactive working group exercises to promote social inclusion and challenge racism and stereotypes.

They combined them with body-storming games as a powerful learning tool to improve critical thinking and education to achieve sustainable development, intercultural understanding and awareness campaigning.

It has been amazing watching the trainers with their interactive tools and proposals. The different protocols helped enormously in encouraging debate, to raise issues and work together to find solutions on daily based situations.

The Training gave us practice and examples of how to be aware and acknowledge that growing inequality has become a pressing issue.

The participants kept telling me, yesterday, that they felt very privileged to have participated in the workshop.

Antonella Sgobbo, aditus Programmes Officer and Youth, Not Status Project Coordinator.

During the last stage of the day, the identification of three project ideas took place in a very engaging working groups set up, three tables for three different projects:

  • National Youth Council/equivalent of youth platform to be given a vote + consultation power in policy making process of Parliament
  • Youth Media Platform
  • Social integration campaigns

The workshop concluded with pitches of these proposals in front of a proper jury composed of a journalist, a video maker and a project manager who provided the participants with valuable advice on the potential impact of the projects.

         

The next session on Sunday 12th sought to identify how young people can make use of the policy to advocate for their needs. Dr Gabi Calleja facilitated the session about “the National Youth Policy Towards 2020: A shared vision for the future of young people”, as part of the Government’s policy for greater participation, equitable economic and social progress for all and inclusive change.

The panel examined topics such as human rights and justice; political participation and decision-making; gender and health inequalities; and employment, education, and migration opportunities, in the context of youth development, empowerment, and equality within society.

The participants provided input on the strategies of the policy before its implementation and they advocated for increased inclusivity in the aims and the objectives of the policy.

The workshop provided an invaluable platform for migrant and Maltese youths to interact and learn under the guidance of national and international coaches on integration, youth policy and journalism.

The interactive nature of the workshop made the weekend thoroughly enjoyable!

Helena A. Youth, Not Status participant.

Jurgen Balzan led the last talk ‘Young people’s representation in media across the Mediterranean’. A vast majority of citizens in Europe and the southern Mediterranean now recognise youth-led initiatives and education reform as the best way to tackle discrimination and extremist narratives.

Jurgen gave an example of how social media played a significant role during the Arab Spring as it facilitated communication and interaction among participants of political protests, and he shared his experiences in reporting on cases involving migrants. The group of participants debated on how displaced and vulnerable people can be empowered through the use of social media and other platforms.

My participation in Youth, Not Status made me feel more comfortable and free to speak about migration.  I met new people, we shared our experiences. Everything is more realistic now! Being judged as migrant, refugee in this Country needs to be refreshed up.

We shared our voices, we were very engaged, despite of the pressure and the animated debate.

Our voices can change the whole world.

It was a pleasure meeting also Jurgen Balzan, the journalist who spoke about the situation that happened in North Africa and in the Middle East. Thanks. 

Omar, Youth, Not Status participant.

If you want to know more about Youth, Not Status project click here:

 http://aditus.org.mt/our-work/projects/youth-not-status/

If you want be involved in the next activities of Youth, Not Status, get in touch with us:
antonellasgobbo@aditus.org.mt

 

                                                                                

Photo credits: Antonella Sgobbo


Youth, Not Status gathered 30 youth for its I training course weekend

On Saturday 30 September and Sunday 1 October 2017, we held the first training course weekend of our project Youth, Not Status. 30 young people living in Malta, coming from different backgrounds and nationalities. Students, youth leaders, social workers and various trainers, gathered for 2 days at the Archbishop’s Seminary in Rabat.

The training course weekend was an opportunity for our participants to create a platform to exchange experiences, practices and methods for young people and youth organizations on how to address migration, integration and human rights issues at the grassroots. It also included discussions focusing on national youth actions and how to strengthen the awareness and mobilization of young people in relation to these issues.

The project, funded by Erasmus+, will bring together Maltese youth and young refugees and migrants in an open social dialogue with local authorities focused on key themes of migration and integration relevant to Malta, highlighting stories and experiences from a youth perspective.

The training is also an opportunity for brainstorming about ways in which young people can be mobilised into find solutions in common critical areas: such as political participation, prevention of violent extremism, cultural heritage, freedom of expression and media and information literacy.

The training course weekend was designed to encourage discussions between Maltese and migrant youth in order to increase knowledge and awareness on migration, to reflect about the effects of migration on the rights of young refugees, and to understand the challenges and potentials of cultural diversity, inclusion, social integration, youth work and youth political participation.

The 2 days of training were structured into 4 different sessions facilitated by our Assistant Director Carla Camilleri, Maria Pisani from Integra Foundation, Binda Consulting International and PRISMS Malta. The sessions focused on the following topics:

  1. Civil Society and Democracy;
  2. Youth Narratives and Youth experiences with Racism, Marginalisation, xenophobia.
  3. Youth as Political Citizens,
  4. Youth Sharing Experiences, Multiculturalism.

Due to the lack of information on the existing issues, preconceived ideas, the continuous criminalization of the irregular migrants and their presumed threat and youth civil society, Maltese and the refugee and migrant community are not empowered to act as a cohesive group.

The sessions held during the weekend aimed at strengthening the protection of the rights of migrants and to change the societal attitudes towards them by integrating human rights discourse and the dignity dimension into the public debate on migration.

The discussion among the participants concluded with two main objectives:

  1. to change the discourse on migration by mainstreaming the topics of human rights, dignity and protection into public discussions;
  2. to develop and implement advocacy goals aiming to ensure the implementation of opportunities for youth to engage in governance and participate in political and decision-making processes.

Youth, Not Status next training course will be held on the 11 and 12 November.

The topics will be:

  • Cohabitation and co-work between young Nationals and young Refugees in Malta;
  • Young people’s representation in media, dialogue and collaboration between youth and key media actors;
  • National legislation on youth revision participation to advocate for the development of national youth strategies and policies and to lobby for the sound implementation of these.

REGISTRATION IS STILL OPEN!! Click here to apply:

http://aditus.org.mt/our-work/projects/youth-not-status/registration-form/

If you need more info, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us:

antonellasgobbo@aditus.org.mt


We would like to commend the Government of Malta’s stand against the far right group Defend Europe

Photo from independent.co.uk

We would like to commend the Government of Malta’s stand against the far right group Defend Europe in refusing to allow the C-Star to enter Malta.

Under the deceptive premise of ‘saving lives’, the mission of the vessel C-Star claims to ‘defend Europe’ by disrupting humanitarian vessels and by returning refugees to the coast of Libya.

The scope and actions of Defend Europe must not be underestimated, their political ideology is dangerous and extreme.

The stance adopted by the Government of Malta sends out a clear message against the politics of hate and extremism.

Statement of:

aditus foundation, Graffiti,  Integra Foundation, Jesuit Refugee Service (Malta), Kopin, The Critical Institute.


Malta could have done the right thing & shown solidarity

We are appalled at the way Italy and Malta treated the migrants and crew aboard the vessel Golfo Azzurro. Relying on restrictive and questionable interpretations of legal obligations in order to deny disembarkation created an inhumane situation, achieving absolutely nothing but more human suffering and pain.

It is unacceptable for States to behave in this manner, toying with the lives and security of people as they attempt to resolve their diplomatic disagreements.

Without access to complete information regarding the precise rescue location and procedures, we are not in a position to establish with certainty whether the recused migrants ought to have been disembarked in Italy or in Malta. However, we can say with certainty that under international human rights law and international maritime law disembarkation in Libya was an absolute non-starter.

This would have exposed the rescued migrants to risks of loss of life or of serious human rights violations, an unacceptable resolution to the impasse.

It is now opportune to remind Malta of its several calls for solidarity in dealing with refugee flows. Malta was in the prime position to show solidarity with Italy, a State that has solely hosted hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants. Malta could also have extended its solidarity to the three migrants who were in need of safety and, as days passed by, humanitarian assistance.

Malta could have done the right thing. Instead it chose to abandon the migrants and crew to their fates out at sea, potentially for days.

Solidarity is not a one-way street. It requires long-term commitment to support whoever is in need, and whenever the need arises. We strongly urge Malta to revisit its understanding of the principle, and to distance itself from a migration policy based on self-interest and disregard for human life.

Statement by: aditus foundation, Integra Foundation, JRS Malta