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Dignifying lives

PL candidate Nikita Alamango writes: When your partner is in his or her hospital deathbed, and you are prevented from being at his/her side because you are not “legally” related, it doesn’t matter whether you are red or blue, the suffering is equally painful

16 May 2017, 1:04pm
The protection and strengthening of minority rights are an important cause for me
The protection and strengthening of minority rights are an important cause for me
Over the past 10 years or so, I have been involved in several social campaigns. While one person may perceive this as a way of challenging society to progress, I also view it as being on the side of those more vulnerable and fighting to provide that small bracket of society that doesn’t necessarily see the matter being debated as a choice but rather as a true necessity.

Be it the YES to Divorce campaign, LGBTIQ rights and the civil union debate; I am proud not only to have been on the right side of history but also proud to read and hear about instances and experiences where legal rights have been the source of new lives, fulfilling someone’s happiness that seemed highly improbable prior to their legal passage. 

Another incredibly fulfilling aspect of working and promoting these social issues is the fact that, for a smidgen of time, partisan barriers disappear, and you find yourself working alongside individuals from all walks of life and across the political spectrum. Such is the nature of these rights that many of us take them for granted – they affect everyone, indiscriminately!

When your partner is in his or her hospital deathbed, and you are prevented from being at his/her side because you are not “legally” related, it doesn’t matter whether you are red or blue, the suffering is equally painful! This is the reason why I feel the need to further involve myself in the legislative process and why I have accepted to run for parliament once again. 

While incredible strides have been made in recent years, much more needs to be done, in particular when it comes to women’s representation, empowerment, health and reproductive rights. I find it quite remarkable that the forces hindering the process of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) rights, by which many couples who have been unable to have children for one reason or another can still experience the joy of life and parenthood, are the same forces that attempted to hinder the introduction of emergency contraception, such as the Morning-After Pill (MAP). These are the paradigms that, unfortunately, manifest themselves repeatedly and are the exact reason why progress is continuously hampered. 

This week the Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat, opened the door to all experts and stakeholders to start conversations relating to the use of marijuana. As expected, this news became the source of both elation and commotion, however, while most look at this issue as a recreational matter or a choice, this substance can provide much needed medical relief for cancer patients or those suffering from cluster headaches, Parkinson’s or fibromyalgia.

I aspire that for once this country will rise to the occasion to discuss policy at face value, by taking expert advice on board and pondering different views without jumping to conclusions. Why deny those with endless suffering the little hope they have left? Why let our personal opinions be the judge of others when alternative medicine exists with positive results and minimal side effects?

Another area we require great strides in is equality in terms of women’s rights and equal pay. While it is understood that many factors come into play, in terms of compensation levels, there is clear evidence that women in the work environment are still being compensated less than men, for equal work. Needless to say, equal work opportunities should also provide for equal work benefits – and thus it is equally important that men are afforded the same benefits in terms of paternity leave. A new academic research study, at the Australian Institute of Family Studies, finds that men who take paternity leave are more likely to be involved in childcare activities later on, and that their kids do better on some cognitive ability tests. 

The protection and strengthening of minority rights are an important cause for me. I am against any form of discrimination, be it based on gender, politics or otherwise.

I will offer enthusiasm, resilience and determination to change things for the better and to partake in building a new Malta, not only from a physical point-of-view but, even more importantly, from a social perspective. I will advocate and endorse fresh and sound ideas to ensure that our policies are implemented in a diligent and transparent manner.  

I have always been proud to call myself Maltese, but that feeling surges each and every time we as an island community unite to support the weaker ones among us, and push them forward till they’re our equals! That is why I choose Malta. Malta, led by Prime Minister Dr Joseph Muscat.

Nikita Alamango is a Labour Party candidate on the 9 and 10 district

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