We will be working on a number of exciting projects this year! They cover the areas identified in our 2022-2024 Strategic Plan and all target specific goals that we feel are crucial for the lives of many people living in Malta: asylum, equality and non-discrimination, rule of law, justice. You’ll see that the projects also reflect our mission to monitor, report and act on access to human rights, being projects that engage in various activities: research, publications, legal services, advocacy, training.
The projects are a mixture of continuous and new projects and here’s a sneak peak to what they are about. Together with these projects, we also have a number of on-going advocacy initiatives pushing for higher and better human rights standards.
The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) released the Fundamental Rights Report 2022 that assesses the key developments in the areass of fundamental rights from 2021, achievements and shortcomings. The report dives into many areas, with Malta featuring many times for the country’s shortcomings in the protection of fundamental rights, and for its achievements. This blogpost gives an overview of how Malta features in the FRA report, providing an interesting insight into human rights in Malta in 2021.
The report begins by discussing social rights and equality post-Covid-19 Pandemic, highlighting Malta’s plan to assess its unemployment benefit’s system, and to fund technological advancements to promote access to health care. Malta, among other EU Member States, plans to promote the active participation of persons with disabilities in social life through the recovery and Resilience Facility.
The report mentions the plan for an NHRI to replace the current National Commission for the Promotion of Equality for Men and Women. Malta was also praised for their recent inclusion of sexual orientation, racial origin and religion in the data collected by the Census of Population and Housing 2021. FRA reported that EU citizens and family members experience discrimination on the basis of their nationality where non-Maltese EU citizens are required to present pay-slips as proof of social security before receiving treatment from public healthcare providers, whereas Maltese citizens are only asked to present identity cards.
aditus foundation is extremely happy to welcome the recent amendments brought about to Maltese law in terms of offering better protection to lesbians, gays, and transgender persons living in Malta. The amendments add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of circumstances aggravating certain types of crimes, and also to the legal mandate of Malta’s national equality body, the Nation Council for the Promotion of Equality (NCPE).
“The authorities are sending clear messages. Violent acts against gays, lesbians or transgender men or women will not be tolerated and will be severely punished. Employers who discriminate on these grounds will now be held accountable and may face serious repercussions. Of course, the main strength of these amendments is their potential to prevent these violent acts and discriminatory practices”, Dr. Neil Falzon (aditus foundation Director).
These amendments are in many ways a human rights success for all of Malta, since they reaffirm the equal dignity of all persons. They are a success for the united voice of the non-governmental organisations calling for their adoption.
“Ultimately, they are a tribute to all persons who were and are bullied, beaten, insulted, ostracised and rebuked simply due to their non-conformity to public expectations and norms.”
aditus foundation is very happy to welcome the recent announcement by the Minister for Justice, Dialogue and the Family regarding legal amendments broadening hate crimes legislation. The proposed amendments will extend current legislation to cover crimes based on homophobia, transphobia and other grounds such as disability.
aditus Director Dr. Neil Falzon: “This is a clear statement condemning acts of violence committed out of discrimination against particularly vulnerable groups. We are particularly happy to see the inclusion of gender identity as a protected ground, putting Malta at the forefront of recognising and tackling the difficult and often violent situations faced by transgender persons simply because they are perceived to be different.”
The organisation also welcomes the extension of the remit of the National Commission for the Promotion of Equality (NCPE), mandating it to formally deal with discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. This means that NCPE will now include these two important grounds in all of its activities, including research, awareness raising, advocacy and training. From the perspective of victims of discrimination, these measures guarantee a further source of redress against individuals and agencies discriminating on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity.
“The possibility to seek effective redress for human rights violations is central to the very nature of human rights protection. We’re looking forward to NCPE’s involvement in these areas in order to better understand the extent of such discrimination in Malta and to devise strategies to combat it, together.”
aditus underlines that these amendments are the result of on-going advocacy efforts by several organisations, and a strong sign of the important role played by non-governmental organisations in the promotion of human rights in Malta.
“We stand ready to support their implementation through training activities targeting governmental officials, police officers and other interested and relevant stakeholders.”