We are pleased to publish today a Statelessness Briefing Note. The Note is aimed at urging Malta to follow through its international commitment to protect stateless people.
In 2019 Malta acceded to the 1954 Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons. This was a welcome development, confirming Malta’s commitment to resolving the situation of stateless persons in Malta. Yet, to date, Malta has not taken the legislative or administrative steps necessary to fulfil its new Convention obligations.
Who may be considered ‘stateless’?
Stateless individuals are people who have no nationality and thus, are often denied the right to access the most basic of rights since their lack of evidence of a legal status disallows them from benefitting from their fundamental rights such as the right to education, medical care as well as employment. Various human rights treaties establish the right to nationality and for this to be enjoyed in a non-discriminatory and non-arbitrary manner. However, as evinced by the recent Statelessness Index published by the European Network on Statelessness (ENS), progress in this area is quite slow-moving in both Malta as well as the remainder of Europe.
We’re happy to present the list of new projects we’ll be working on this year. These projects cover a broad range of issues…from statelessness to sex work from child detention to undocumented migrants…pretty much reflecting the needs we’ve identified in several sectors. Many of these initiatives will commence this year and flow into 2022. They join the projects we started last year, with the entire list giving you an idea of how busy we are but also of the human rights issues Malta still needs to address.
Contrary to what most people think, a long list of projects is not necessarily a good thing. Whilst it does mean that we’re able to address several human rights concerns, it also means that our work runs the risk of being fragmented and boxed within the constraints of specific projects: timelines, ear-marked budgets, constant reporting.
Human rights advocacy, by definition, is very difficult to squeeze into a finite project. Goals are generally long-term, targets not always reached and activities usually involve meeting stakeholders, initiating dialogue and other ‘soft’ elements that are hard to measure, evaluate and report on. Yet of course we count ourselves lucky that we have access to project funds to carry out our work, and thank all funding entities for these opportunities.
We have just started work on a new project: Identification Tool for Statelessness in Asylum. Our efforts will seek to create a working tool allowing us – and our partners – to identify stateless persons in Malta’s asylum scenario.
Although there is no comprehensive and updated research on number of stateless persons in Malta, it is clear that a high percentage is present with asylum-seeking of refugee communities. These would be people who have either been stripped of their nationality due to, for example, ethnic conflicts or partition of states. Otherwise, they could be people who are not recognised by the state they deem to be their own because they might have lived their entire lives outside that country, in a refugee camp in a neighbouring state.
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.