Malta must adopt a rights-based approach to national anti-racism plans

This is the Introduction to our submissions presented to the Parliamentary Secretariat for Equality and Reform for its consultation on the adoption of a national anti-racism action plan. Essentially, we are urging Government to place human dignity at the heart of its national framework by adopting a rights-based approach to national anti-racism plans.

The full document may be downloaded here.


aditus foundation enthusiastically welcomes Malta’s commitment towards establishing a national action plan to combat racism and xenophobia. This step has the potential of dramatically improving the well-being of thousands of persons living in Malta, whilst simultaneously confirming that Malta is truly committed to upholding the inherent dignity and equality of all persons.

It has always been a key concern of aditus foundation that a country becoming increasingly diverse has failed to muster the courage to engage with this sensitive theme. There is no excuse for the inaction of successive Governments. Year after year, hate speech against racial minorities has grown in volumes and intensity, with social media platforms now entirely dedicated to promoting – directly or indirectly – racial superiority, Nazism, fascism and the suppression of minority groups. The incidence of racially-motivated hate crimes is also of serious concern, the 2019 brutal murder of Lassana Cisse a stark wake-up call for the entire nation. Whilst these incidents have generally targeted the African migrant population, several other communities suffer discrimination on the basis of their membership – or attributed membership – to an ethnic or racial minority, including Maltese nationals.

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Just published: our Annual Report for our activities in 2019

We’ve just published the Annual Report covering our activities for 2019. This report is a mandatory document for our reporting to the Commissioner for Voluntary Organisations as also a confirmation of our committment to transparency and accountability.

The report provides information on the activities, initiatives and engagements we worked on throughout the year. It also gives readers an insight into the major achievements and challenges we faced in the year. Importantly, it provides information on the human rights landscape of 2019 and our position within it.

The report is freely available on our Publications page, here.

This is my introduction to the Annual Report. We’re more than happy to provide more information on the Report’s content and our activities…just get in touch with us.


2019 will go down in history as one of Malta’s most tumultuous years. On-going investigations into the brutal assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia continued to unveil shocking stories of corruption at Malta’s highest political levels, including the Office of the Prime Minister and other Ministries, as well as in Malta’s most prominent and influential business circles. The impact on the nation was unprecedented, with upset crowds – led by civil society organisations – taking to the streets for several days with loud calls for justice, accountability and resignations. At the end of the year, the disgraced Prime Minister resigned as also the disgraced Minister for Tourism and the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff.

The scandals are nowhere near resolved and justice for Daphne and for the criminal activities she was in the process of revealing is far from being secured. In a recent opinion piece, I underlined that, as long as Joseph Muscat and Konrad Mizzi remain members of Parliament, Malta will remain besieged by corruption and criminal activity, unable to restore democracy.

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Reflections on Racism

#KeepingUpWithTheInterns

Hey all! Hope everyone is safe! I am currently writing this blog post at 12am…I know I should be sleeping but there is something on my mind that I feel like sharing with you.

On 25 May 2020, George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man was killed in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. It all happened on a Monday night. An employee at a Minneapolis grocery store called police after Floyd allegedly tried to pass a forged cheque. CCTV footage shows that Floyd was compliant to the orders given by the policemen. A police officer handcuffed him and pinned him to the ground, kneeling on his neck. Video recorded by a bystander shows a white police officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck for 7 minutes. Despite witnesses telling the officer that his life was in danger, this continued. Floyd repeatedly says, “I can’t breathe,” and then, “I’m about to die.” But as the officer removed his knee it was too late, as George Floyd was already dead. As the footage of this act was posted on social media, protests started at the spot where Floyd died.

But why am I talking about a man that was killed in the USA?

Well, racially motivated violence is a problem all over the world, even here in Malta.

In May 2009, Suleiman Abubaker died after a bouncer at a famous club in Paceville, pushed him to the ground. Suleiman Abubaker suffered a fractured skull and lung contusions. He fell into a coma and died 11 days later. The killing of Suleiman is still unpunished. The bouncer was only fined 500 Euros for a missing licence, but nothing for the death of a human being.

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Open Letter to Commission President Ursula von der Leyen: The European Commission must prioritise addressing police violence and structural racism in the EU

CC to: Vice-President Margaritis Schinas, Commissioner Helena Dalli

Dear Ms. von der Leyen,

As organisations working for an equal and inclusive Europe, we would like to raise our serious concerns regarding the lack of real reaction of EU leaders regarding police brutality against people of colour in Europe as well as institutional and structural racism, following the killing of George Floyd in the United States and ensuing solidarity protests in Europe and across the world. We were appalled by the statement by EU Commissioner Schinas which delegitimises the public outcry against police brutality and institutional racism in Europe.

On 3 June 2020, Commissioner Schinas was quoted in the Financial Times as saying that events such as the killing of African-American man George Floyd in Minneapolis, and the wave of demonstrations against it, were “not likely . . . to happen in Europe at this scale”. “I do not think that we have issues now in Europe that blatantly pertain to police brutality or issues of race transcending into our systems. But we do have an issue in Europe, which is the issue of inequalities and income distribution — making the best for everyone of what we have.”

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Shameful treatment of arrested migrants is a manifestation of institutionalised racism

NGO Statement – aditus foundation, Integra Foundation, Jesuit Refugee Service (Malta)

We strongly condemn the manner in which the Malta Police Force escorted a group of arrested migrants, including a number of minors, to Court this morning.

Publicly available images and videos show the arrested migrants brought to Court via one of Malta’s busiest pedestrian streets. All men were tied together in pairs with cable ties,  seemed to be wearing the same clothes they had on when arrested yesterday and it was reported that some were without shoes. A large number of accompanying Police officers were wearing white sanitary gloves.

We believe this treatment to be inhumane and prejudicial to the presumption of innocence principle. International and European standards include the State obligation to ensure that suspects are not presented in Court or in public in a manner that infers guilt. This treatment also amounts to institutionalised racism since this way of parading accused persons seems to be reserved to non-Maltese nationals.

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