I hope you’ve had a lovely holiday season with your family and friends, and we wish you all the very best for 2018! In the past months we’ve been somewhat quiet here…which – to those of you who know us and our work – is strange.
We’re going through some regular human resource challenges, forcing us to slow down some of our activities and prioritise our tasks. I’ve been on parental leave for some months, Carla (Assistant Director) started her own maternity leave some weeks ago and Antonella, our Programmes Officer, left us at the beginning of December.
For a small office like ours, this is actually a significant issue since it means most of us were not around, and it’s only thanks to our dedicated interns that we have been able to keep our on-going projects afloat, and that our clients were able to be seen to.
We’re now getting back on our feet, also because we have some important initiatives to work on. Our youth project, Youth, Not Status is in its final stages and we’re now planning a meeting between our youth participants and policy-makers.
We’ve secured funding for our legal aid activities, some of which we’ll be continuing with our partners JRS Malta and Integra Foundation in Project Integrated and some will be carried out aside from – but in paralell to – this project.
Thanks to funds related to Malta’s Gay Pride of 2015 we’ll be looking into the treatment in Malta of LGBTIQ+ refugees, and we’ll be looking into the treatment of persons awaiting trial in order to see how the presumption of innocence operates in relation to the broader public.
We also have a number of key strategic litigation cases that should be finalised this year: a migrant challenging the lawfulness of his detention before the European Court of Human Rights; and a group of transgender inmates alleging that their treatment at Corradino Correctional Facility was inhumane and degrading.
What will we focus on throughout 2018? We are yet to organise our Strategic Planning Meeting to assess progress in 2017 and use this to fine-tune our planning process for 2018. But we definitely we will focusing on:
- This is Home, our campaign for the regularisation of undocumented migrants who have not been returned through no fault of their own;
- our reaction and response the newly-launched national integration strategy;
- statelessness, and Malta’s ratification of the 1954 Convention that would allow stateless persons to be recognised as such;
- governance, and how bad governance leads to a series of human rights violations at all levels of society but particularly for the most vulnerable;
- exploring ways of working more effectively within the informal coalition of NGOs working in the area of asylum, with support from our friends at the Dutch Council for Refugees;
- a number of advocacy priorities: the establishment of the equality body (as promised by Government), effective enjoyment of rights by the transgender community, refugee and migrant integration, the asylum procedure (urgently in need of reform);
- …and so much more!
So that explains why we’ve been so quiet in the past months…they’ve been hard for us, but for good reasons! We’ve started the year re-energised and ready to get going. If you want to be more actively involved in our work, get in touch with me!
Happy new year!