Safi detention conditions unacceptable for both migrants and security officers

Human rights NGO aditus has issued an unequivocal condemnation of the use of violence on Tuesday by a number of detained migrants during the protest at Safi detention centre.

The organisation expressed sympathy with Police and Detention Service officers injured during the event in the course of carrying out their challenging professional duties.

“The Detention Services officers are called to implement a strict detention policy that insists on locking up people in filthy, crammed and suffocating spaces.”

Aditus chairperson Dr Neil Falzon commented: “Malta has repeatedly been told that the physical conditions in Safi centre are simply unacceptable, and that an arbitrary eighteen-month long detention without any real possibility of legal challenge is an affront to human dignity.”

Aditus said the men protesting on Tuesday and most other migrants detained this year, had been caught up in the Libyan war that was not their own, and where their their lives and security were in real, serious and imminent danger.

“Who wouldn’t jump onto a boat that offered even the slightest possibility of safety, life, shelter? And in acknowledgement of their desperate attempts to remain alive, we pack them up in warehouses and forget they exist,” Falzon said.

Aditus urged the Maltese authorities not to ignore the appeals emerging from the Safi protest, and to initiate an inclusive dialogue process with all stakeholders with a view of reviewing its relevant laws and policies. “If Malta wants the European Union to show more solidarity in its regard, then Malta should demonstrate that it is really doing its utmost to uphold European values.”

In another statement, the Peace Lab of Hal Far condemned the use of violence during the protests, but said it understood the difficult situation many detainees were passing from.

“It is also difficult for those entrusted to take care of them and for the forces of law and order when called in to contain such situations. The Peace Lab hopes for more dialogue between immigrants and authorities, and appeals to immigrants to choose their represenatives for participation in constructive talks.”