Last month, I had the privilege to participate in a training organised by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights on the topic of Human Rights at International Borders: Monitoring, Safety and Security of Human Rights Defenders.
This week was a unique opportunity to take a step back from my daily duties as a Legal Officer at aditus foundation. In fact, it is extremely easy to get caught up in the busyness of providing legal assistance to the most at need in a period when migration policies are increasingly austere. I believe it is crucial to dedicate some time to think about what we do, why we do it, and how we do it in order to have the ‘bigger picture’ in mind and achieve greater goals.
We are extremely happy to share the result of 2 years’ hard work! On 5 June 2022 we launched a Training Kit designed to support the empowerment of refugee-led groups. Funded by the Erasmus+ programme, the Training Kit on Empowering Refugee-Led Community Organisations wants to strengthen refugee protection by elevating refugee-led groups from ‘beneficiaries’ to active and equal advocacy partners.
We designed a training package that is user-friendly, adaptable to different national contexts and targeting both information and skills needs.
The Training Kit is actually two products. One intended for refugees wishing to be national advocates and the other for those organisations targeting EU-level advocacy.
In April, our Legal Officer, participated in a training on case law developed by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) with relevance for asylum law. This was organised by the Academy of European Law (ERA) in Strasbourg.
The training provided in depth knowledge on the ECHR approach in asylum cases. Experienced speakers presented the Court’s approach in non-refoulement cases, detention cases, interim measures and the right to family life. The participants could visit the Court and meet the very experienced lawyers working there.
The seminar was attended by lawyers in private practice, judges, European and national civil servants and other legal practitioners dealing with asylum law.
On Friday evening and Saturday morning, Neil (our Director) delivered legal training to integration educators, engaged by the University of Malta to deliver cultural orientation classes to migrants and refugees.
Following Government’s adoption of Integration=Belonging: Migrant Integration Strategy and Action Plan, the Integration Unit within the Ministry for European Affairs and Equality has been making steady progress towards implementation of the country’s integration agenda.
In particular, free classes in English and Maltese have already started, as part of Stage 1 of a migrant’s integration path. Stage 1 also includes basic cultural and societal orientation, and a record+assessment of qualifications, trade and work experiences.
Throughout the months of March, April and May aditus foundation is delivering human rights training to Malta’s border guards. On invitation of the Malta Police Force, aditus is providing four two-hour long training sessions to groups of Police officers and officials from the Malta Armed Forces, all involved in operations aimed at securing Malta’s borders.
During his two hours, Neil (aditus foundation Director) covers human rights definitions and core principles, including notions of derogations and exceptions. Delivered in Maltese, Neil’s sessions are interactive, discussion-based and focused on a practical understanding of the relevance of human rights within a border control context. Specific human rights that are given particular attention include: dignity, effective remedy, good governance, and non-discrimination.
The sessions also provide aditus the opportunity to identify and address concerns relating to human rights in Malta, beyond those directly related to migration. Sessions discuss gender equality, good governance, religious freedom, rights versus responsibilities and other themes participants raise in the course of the trainings.
aditus’ human rights slots form part of a broader training programme designed by the Malta Police Force, covering updates to EU legislation, international protection, interviewing techniques and other issues.
We strongly commend the Force’s initiative, and thank them for including us and other NGOs in their training programme.
Cover slide of Neil’s presentation.