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Freedom of belief, migrant children’s rights to top agenda during Malta's EU presidency

Foreign Affairs Minister George Vella says Malta to focus on racism, xenophobia and discrimination

miriam
Miriam Dalli
6 December 2016, 4:51pm
Foreign Affairs Minister George Vella, together with EU special representative for human rights, Stavros Lambrinidis, addressed a seminar on the role of civil society
Foreign Affairs Minister George Vella, together with EU special representative for human rights, Stavros Lambrinidis, addressed a seminar on the role of civil society
Migrants’ human rights – in particular rights of migrant children – civil society space and freedom of religion or belief will be high on the human rights agenda during the Maltese presidency of the European Council.

According to Home Affairs Minister George Vella, Malta was seeking to focus on topics that are “inextricable” to the human rights of migrants. Vella argued that these were extremely pertinent to the discussion Europe was having on these issues. Racism, xenophobia and discrimination.

“It has become amply clear that the EU’s record on racism, xenophobia and discrimination is increasingly undermining the credibility of its human rights pursuits in third countries,” he said, insisting that the narrative needed to change.

“It is up to the EU to successfully challenge it.”

Vella was addressing a seminar on the role of civil societies in democracies in transition, held at the Old University campus.

The seminar was also addressed by EU special representative for human rights, Stavros Lambrinidis.

Vealla argued that while the EU does not acknowledge the granting of enhanced privileges, the fact that migrants are inherently more vulnerable cannot be neglected.

“This needs to be taken into account when the EU seeks to ward against discrimination, racism and xenophobia; seeking to protect those most vulnerable.

“Human rights are migrant rights too. The situation is especially difficult for migrant children coming from war-torn countries such as Syria, where the situation continues to worsen. Children are among the most vulnerable, experiencing bombing, facing starvation, and dying from preventable diseases.”

miriam
Miriam Dalli joined MaltaToday.com.mt in 2010 and was assistant editor fr...