NGO Statement on the European Meeting of 23 September

On the occasion of the meeting of the 23 September between representatives of Malta, Italy, Germany, France, Finland and the European Commission the undersigned organisations strongly urge the meeting participants to bring to an end a distribution of responsibilities that results in human suffering, injustice and violations of international and European law.

A permanent system of disembarkation and relocation of asylum-seekers rescued in the Mediterranean is absolutely necessary. The current ad hoc system whereby relocation is negotiated on a ship-by-ship basis is neither humane nor  sustainable. Furthermore, it is imperative that rescued asylum-seekers are always treated in a manner that fully respects their dignity and fundamental rights. Ultimately, the present scenario risks draining cooperating Member States of their willingness to support Italy and Malta.

We welcome the active involvement of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) in these relocation exercises, reiterating the need for such exercises to be treated as European initiatives and not as bilateral political negotiations amongst Member States outside the scope of legal and policy scrutiny. Relocating asylum-seekers should be based on the principles enshrined in Europe’s asylum norms, including: registration and protection as asylum-seekers, appropriate provision of information, restoration of family ties, identification of and support to vulnerable persons.

We are particularly concerned at Malta’s treatment of rescued persons in the Initial Reception Centre and in Safi Detention Centre. We have already expressed our concerns regarding the lawfulness of the detention of those who have been detained on medical grounds for weeks on end. Beyond this, both centres are over-crowded and living conditions are abysmal.

Whilst we fully appreciate Malta’s challenges in receiving relatively large numbers of asylum-seekers in a short time, we cannot endorse an approach that leaves people locked up for weeks, without a valid reason at law, and treats them with such disregard for their humanity.

It is simply unacceptable that this approach is tolerated by a European Union built on values of solidarity, humanity and dignity.

In view of the above, we strongly urge the Member State participants to seek to establish a permanent relocation mechanism for asylum-seekers rescued in the Mediterranean that:

  1. Provides effective solidarity with Italy and Malta by ensuring the swift transfer of asylum-seekers and by providing support – including financial – towards the urgent improvement of reception conditions;
  2. Terminates at once the approach whereby rescued persons are only allowed to be disembarked once their relocation is secured;
  3. Ensure that all persons are provided with information, in a manner they understand, about their futures from the moment of their arrival and throughout the relocation procedure;
  4. Guarantees that, following disembarkation, all persons are treated humanely and with respect for their dignity and fundamental human rights;
  5. Immediately strengthens the capacity of open reception centres, both in terms of physical space and in terms of the human resources necessary to provide all asylum-seekers with the support they need to rebuild their lives.

Statement by:

  1. aditus foundation
  2. African Media Association
  3. Blue Door English
  4. Integra Foundation
  5. Jesuit Refugee Service (Malta)
  6. Malta Emigrants’ Commission
  7. Migrant Women Association (Malta)
  8. Moviment Graffitti
  9. Office of the Dean, Faculty of Education
  10. SOS Malta
  11. Syrian Solidarity in Malta

Marching for LGBTIQ+ refugees!

Join us this Saturday 14 September for Malta’s Pride March!

This year we’ll be marching with a message that shows solidarity with so many of our beneficiaries who would love to march…but simply do not dare to: LGBTIQ+ refugees.

Our work brings us in touch with several men and women who have fled their countries because of the persecution they fear due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.

We guide them through Malta’s asylum process, in particular by explaining the importance of explaining their LGBTIQ+ identities. Of course, this is extremely challenging. There are several personal, social and community obstacles along the path to revealing such personal stories to a Government Case Officer who might be mostly interested in knowing:

“What were you before you were gay?”

Case Officer, Office of the Refugee Commissioner.

It is even more challenging, at times, to reveal such identities to members of their own communities on whom they rely for almost everything.

For Malta Pride 2019 we want to remind Malta, and Malta’s LGBTIQ+ community, of the diversity within this very community. That LGBTIQ+ includes persons with disabilities, young and old, refugees, migrant…and so many more colours.

We want to reassure those LGBTIQ+ refugees who dare not march for fear of being identified, labelled, shamed, excluded or threatened, that we proudly march for them.

Join us and march for them too!


Look out for this banner…and march with us!


Migrants living in stables: our reaction

We are not surprised to read the news that yet another group of migrants were found living in squalor. On the one hand, it is terribly upsetting that more and more people have recognised an economic opportunity in this inhuman business. They are profiting by racist exploitation that ‘houses’ people in structures designed and intended for animals. Essentially, they reflect what we’ve been saying for far too long: Malta’s economic boom lives off the exploitation of migrants and returns close to nothing to its slave labourers.

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Our 3 fresh policy papers on refugee integration, with Integra & JRS!

On behalf of aditus foundation, Integra Foundation and JRS Malta, I would like to share with you our 3 new publications on refugee integration.

Published in the context of Project Integrated, with the support of UNHCR Malta, the 3 Policy Papers are intended to guide our advocacy with Government on key aspects of refugee integration. In the coming months we will be engaging in dialogue sessions with Ministries and other entities so as to present our views and discuss ways forward.

The Policy Papers, published as an on-going series of policy input, are as follows (click on the names to download in .pdf):

Do not hesitate to contact us should you require further information.



The El Hiblu 1 Case

On 30 March 2019 three teenage migrants – aged 15, 16 and 19 – were charged before Malta’s Courts. The most serious charges include acts of terrorism. If found guilty, they’ll spend the rest of their lives in prison.

They were rescued by a commercial vessel, the El Hiblu 1. Despite promises that they would be delivered to safety, the El Hiblu 1 sailed to Libya. Upon realising what had happened, the rescued migrants protested.

They simply couldn’t be returned to the horrible treatment they’d been suffering in Libya.

They need your help.