Understanding the difference between an Asylum-Seeker, a Refugee and a Migrant.

#KeepingUpWithTheInterns

Hi All! I hope you’re all doing great and enjoying the last bit of summer! This week I am going to talk about a subject around which there are a lot of misconceptions. I am going to be explaining the difference between an asylum-seeker, a refugee and a migrant.

The terms  ‘asylum-seeker’, ‘refugee’,and ‘migrant’ are used to describe people who are moving: who have left their country of origin and have crossed borders. The terms ‘migrant’ and ‘refugee’ are often used similarly, but it is important to distinguish between them as there is a legal difference.

Continue Reading

Interviewing refugee-led organisations for our Erasmus+ project

This post is our contribution to #ErasmusDays:



Aims of our project

The Erasmus+ project ‘Training Kit for Empowering Refugee-Led Community Organisations’ aims at addressing the challenges faced by refugee-led organisations. It seeks to equip them with relevant information and skills. Our training kit will support them in order for them to reach a significant level of impact and influence at EU and national levels.

How? By providing training on communication strategies, administrative requirements, advocacy skills, legal information, networking, etc. The training kit will be available to the public and thoroughly disseminated throughout the Partners’ networks.

The aim of this project is to witness a dramatic improvement in the enjoyment of human rights by refugees. The project focuses on the idea of supporting the active inclusion of marginalised, vulnerable or excluded communities. We hope to support those refugees who want to play an more active role in their communities and at the EU level.

Through the project, we will firstly identify the communities’ needs, strengths and trends. We will then produce an educational package that will tackle these challenges and provide improved skills to overcome them.

Interviewing experience

We were very excited to conduct project interviews! As part of this project, we had the opportunity to interview various partners established in Malta. These included refugee-led and non-refugee led organisations.

Taking into account the background, singularities, cultures and languages of the interviewees, we had to know how to formulate questions that can resonate with each of them. We asked non-refugee-led organisations about their perceptions of refugee-led organisations, their value or what skills they might lack to have greater impact. Whereas we interviewed refugee-led organisations about their organisations, inviting them to share the different challenges they face or what skills might be beneficial for them to acquire.

We organised focus group and individual interviews with non-refugee led organisations such as Hal Far Outreach, KOPIN, Blue Door English, Integra, SOS Malta, African Media Association and Migrant Woman Association. Quite similar ideas emerged on the value of non-refugee led organisations and how refugees are better suited to advocate for their own rights. It was also commonly agreed that the lack of financial resources and inclusion or length of any administrative procedures constituted substantial obstacles.

As for refugee-led organisations we had the chance to set up one-on-one interviews. We interviewed Spark15, Libico and the Syrian, Ivorian, Eritrean, Somali and Sudanese Communities. Interestingly, the same points as with non-refugee-led organisations were raised. The difficulty to get involved in the organisation when the members struggle to find a reliable job was highlighted. In addition, the interviewees noted the lack of integration and the bureaucracy.

Our thoughts

Conducting these interviews turned out to be a very instructive experience. It is interesting to see how organisations with very different backgrounds have shared similar challenges and fears, and how they try to overcome these obstacles through resilience and partnership.

We learnt how these organisations still cope in making their organisation succeed despite the continuous challenges they face.

Although each organization has its unique goals and intentions, they all agreed on one common goal: to make sure every migrant, asylum-seeker and refugee in Malta are well treated, educated and granted the rights they are entitled to.

In many ways, we have personally benefited from taking part in this project. We learnt how to conduct interviews with people from different backgrounds, with different cultures, languages and ideas. We gained significant knowledge from their input and from the various and interesting experiences that they spoke to us about and thus challenged our own impressions and ideas.

More generally, when interviewing these organisations, one can see how certain things can appear as details for some and indeed constitute a great deal of challenges for others.

It was very encouraging to see how the refugee led organisations we interviewed were built from the ground up and have achieved so much already!

Written by Julie and Rimaz.


Joint Statement: The Pact on Migration and Asylum: to provide a fresh start and avoid past mistakes, risky elements need to be addressed and positive aspects need to be expanded

#HardlyRocketScience

(This Joint Statement may be downloaded here, and the shorter version may be found here.)

The commitment to a more human approach to protection and the emphasis on the fact that migration is needed and positive for Europe with which the European Commission launched the Pact on Migration and Asylum is welcome. However, this rhetoric is reflected only sparsely in the related proposals. Instead of breaking with the fallacies of the EU’s previous approach and offering a fresh start, the Pact risks exacerbating the focus on externalisation, deterrence, containment and return.

This initial assessment by civil society of the legislative and non-legislative proposals is guided by the following questions:

  • Are the proposals able to guarantee in law and in practice compliance with international and EU legal standards?
  • Will they contribute to a fairer sharing of responsibility for asylum in Europe and globally?
  • Will they work in practice?
Continue Reading

Interpreting for refugees: my perspectives

#KeepingUpWithTheInterns

Hello everyone! I hope you and your families are all safe and well. It is summertime , I hope you are all enjoying it despite the circumstances. Today’s topic will be divided into two blog post, due to its depth and length. I will be writing about one of the oldest professions in the world: interpreting. In particular, about interpreting for refugees in Malta.

This first post is inspired by the UNHCR handbook on interpreting in an asylum context.

Continue Reading

Migrant pushbacks must stop at once!


We are extremely concerned at allegations that Malta is complicit in the on-going illegal pushback to Libya of over 100 migrants. Returning migrants to Libya means returning men, women and children to severe human rights abuses, including arbitrary detention, violence and torture, inhumane living conditions, human trafficking and slavery. It is entirely unacceptable for Malta to even consider engaging in such activities in its efforts to reduce the number of arrivals of persons by sea.

Publicly available information indicates the presence of Libyan Coast Guard ships in Malta’s Search and Rescue Zone. Malta’s responsibility for persons in distress within our Search and Rescue Zone is to coordinate their rescue and ensure their disembarkation at a port of safety. As strongly reiterated by the European Union Commission and by the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Libya is not a safe port for migrants. Malta’s engagement with Libya’s Coast Guard for this to pick up persons from Malta’s Search and Rescue Zone is tantamount to an illegal pushback as it will anyway result in the return of persons to a place where lives and human rights will be at risk.

Continue Reading