Watch our video celebrating refugee voices!

Our project 2incING is all about strengthening and celebrating the voices of migrants and refugees. Why? Because, like everyone else, they are not passive subjects of our laws, our policies, our systems and our norms. They are active players in our communities who should have more control over their futures here in Malta. This video is all about celebrating their voices!

Our project tries to bring communities and Government closer together to talk, to listen, to engage and to commit to working together for a better place for all.

Continue Reading

World Refugee Day 2023: How can Malta be more welcoming to refugees?

Malta Refugee Council statement on World Refugee Day 2023

Every year, World Refugee Day invites us to remember the men, women and children who were forced to flee their homes in search of safety. This year, to mark Malta’s forthcoming launch of its second National Integration Policy and Action Plan, the Malta Refugee Council wishes to urge Malta to develop a clear and inclusive pathway towards refugees being accepted and welcome.

Refugees who have settled here need better guidance on what it takes for them to be truly welcome in Malta. From the moment of their arrival, they are repeatedly told that Malta can never be their home. This harsh message follows them along their paths, where they are constantly subjects of criticism, discrimination and exclusion. After years of life in Malta and despite their best efforts, they remain on-lookers of Malta’s social and cultural life, burdened with the knowledge that Malta will never really be home.

Continue Reading

Malta should be a Place of Shelter

Malta Refugee Council Statement on World Refugee Day 2022

Malta in 2022 offers an extremely hostile environment to refugees reaching our shores. The Government refuses to explain why they are abandoned out at sea, either not rescued or not allowed to safely disembark. Hundreds are detained in squalid conditions and on dubious legal grounds in what international human rights bodies described as “institutional mass neglect”. New detention rules dramatically limit their possibility of receiving needed information and support. Measures adopted by the Government in eagerness to speed up an under-resourced asylum procedure limit the opportunity for persons to fully explain why they are in need of protection, whilst the care provided to the most vulnerable is – at most – basic. Dialogue between the Government and civil society, including refugee-led groups, has been effectively closed. 

Never before has refugee protection been so challenging.

On World Refugee Day 2022 the Malta Refugee Council appeals to Malta to be place of shelter for those men, women and children forced to flee their homes. Whether fleeing the war in Ukraine, discriminatory laws in Nigeria or ethnic conflict in South Sudan, all refugees share the same need for safetyprotection and dignity.

Continue Reading

Put people first – Joint NGO Statement on the occasion of World Refugee Day 2018

On World Refugee Day 2018, in the run-up to the European Council Meeting on June 28, we urge the government to prioritise the protection of people rather than just the protection of Europe’s borders.

The events of the past weeks are a stark reminder, if any were needed, that Europe’s borders are still dangerous and inhospitable places for people in need of protection. They highlight the fact that the most vulnerable are often the first casualty in disputes between states on responsibility for those rescued at sea.  Seen in the light of discussions at European level, they underscore the fact that Europe is still far from achieving a unified and consistent response to the needs of people arriving here in search of protection.

Instead of focusing on real responsibility-sharing within the European Union, Member States’ discussions focus almost exclusively on stopping spontaneous refugee arrivals or making arrangements with non-European States for refugees to remain there, even where these States might not be able or willing to offer true refugee protection.

This lack of a unified approach and the emphasis on protection of borders and perceived national interests – rather than protection of people – is problematic for everyone. Individual EU Member States are disadvantaged by the application of the Dublin Regulation, insofar as this requires the EU’s border Member States to become the continent’s reception or detention centres.

Yet is it particularly problematic for refugees and asylum-seekers who continue to die in ever greater numbers as they attempt to reach a place of safety.

According to UNHCR, although sea arrivals to Italy have drastically reduced since July 2017, the journey claims an increasing number of lives. In 2018, the death rate amongst those crossing from Libya increased to 1 for every 14 people, compared to 1 for every 29 people in the same period in 2017.

‘Forgotten at the Gates of Europe’, a report published yesterday by JRS Europe, highlights the impact of this reality on the lives of men, women and children fleeing in search of protection. It calls upon the EU to create a Common European Asylum System that lives up to its name and that truly affords protection to those who need it.

On World Refugee Day, aditus foundation, Integra Foundation, JRS Malta and the Malta Emigrants’ Commission join our voice to that of JRS Europe in calling for a fundamental policy shift at EU level – to create a system that prioritises protection of people and creates safe and legal pathways for people seeking protection.

We encourage Malta to lead by example, as it did with the intra-EU relocation exercise, and to introduce safe and legal pathways for refugees to reach a place of safety, in particular by broadening the rules on family reunification for beneficiaries of subsidiary protection and resettling refugees from transit countries.

Living together: refugee integration is so much more than refugee survival

Over recent years Malta has become home to men, women and children who, having fled their homes, found shelter here. Living together we have become friends, neighbours and partners. We share day-to-day experiences including grocery shopping, studying, religious celebrations, work and so many more.

By offering them safety and security, Malta has committed to guaranteeing their well-being. By settling here, they have committed to integrating into Maltese society.

Today, to commemorate World Refugee Day 2017, we jointly urge Malta to ensure that its protection of refugees also includes their integration. A truly unified nation is one that succeeds in bringing together all the members of its various communities. By doing so, Malta will benefit from new synergies and social cohesion, where all may be encouraged to play more active and meaningful roles in their local communities, and vulnerable persons would be supported and empowered.

We appreciate the challenges this presents to all persons and entities involved. On the one hand, refugee integration requires Malta to be more understanding and respectful of new ways of life, and to design programmes that ensure specific needs are met and human dignity guaranteed. On the other hand, refugees must cope with the social, cultural, and legal demands of wholly new environments whilst simultaneously dealing with the loss of their loved ones and of their homes.

Our experience, and that of many other nations, shows us that a divisive approach based on exclusion, hatred and prejudice only fosters inequality, poverty and instability. A long-term integration vision that is based on respect for fundamental human rights, the protection of vulnerable persons and inclusive dialogue is the only way to ensure a viable and sustainable future for refugees and all members of Maltese society.

We therefore urge the government to continue its work on formulating a national integration strategy.

In particular, we think it is essential that the strategy goes beyond mere survival but instead explores permanent solutions that lead to true belonging: long-term residence, family reunification, citizenship.

We reiterate our willingness to be involved in discussing this strategy, including through consultations with refugees, to ensure its effectiveness and impact.

We also invite everyone to work towards a united Malta that includes those men, women and children who left everything behind and are making Malta home.

This statement is made jointly by the following organisations:

 aditus foundation, African Media Association Malta, Eritrean Community, Ethiopian Community, Foundation for Shelter and Support to Migrants, Integra Foundation, International Association for Refugees, JRS Malta, KOPIN, Malta Emigrants’ Commission, Malta Microfinance, Organisation for Friendship in Diversity, Migrant Women Association Malta, Migrants’ Network for Equality, People for Change Foundation, Solidarity with Migrants Network, Somali Community in Malta, SOS Malta, Spark15, Sudanese Community.