aditus & JRS Malta comment on proposed changes to national asylum legislation

Together with JRS Malta we’ve submitted technical comments on proposals to amend the Refugees Act, as Malta commences the exercise to transpose the EU’s recast Qualification, Reception and Procedures Directives.

Our comments were sent to the Ministry for Home Affairs and National Security, and technical dialogue is currently underway to work on the finer details of the transposition exercise. We’re keen to continue this dialogue, particularly for the transposition of the recast Reception Directive since this will require a profound revision of Malta’s reception policy.

The document also contains a table comparing the Directive with current and proposed legislation.

Summarily, this is what we’ve highlighted in our comments:

Overall, the Directive’s measures seem to be adequately provided for in the proposed amendments. Noting that the Qualification Directive was not significantly amended in the recast process, it is appreciated that the changes required in the Maltese context in order to fully transpose the Recast Directive are in fact minimal. This further highlights the importance of effective consultation for the Recast Reception Conditions and Procedures Directives, both heavily amended in the recast process and having a serious impact on Malta’s asylum regime.

With regard to the general transposition approach, we fail to understand why this is being conducted in a piece-meal fashion instead of one that approaches all three amended Directives in a coherent, efficient and targeted manner. The present exercise seems to focus on the Qualification Directive, yet already contains significant elements of the other Directives yet without seeing them through in a complete fashion.

Despite the overall compliance with transposition requirements, a number of concerns may be highlighted:

  1. secondary legislation is not the place for recognising the fundamental human rights of any person;
  2. the rights of beneficiaries of subsidiary protection are abstract and undefined
  3. no definition, or defining criteria are provided for “applicants in need of special procedural guarantees”.

The comments can be downloaded here.