Minister says Malta detention policy blessed by Strasbourg court

European Court of Human Rights had already ruled 18-month detention period unlawful because it cannot be challenged.

The Maltese government has stood by its policy of mandatory detention and said the system was necessary for the island’s “internal security”.

In a reaction two days after the migrant protests at the closed detention centre in Safi, Justice and Home Affairs minister Carm Mifsud Bonnici is claiming Malta’s detention system is in line with the European Convention of Human Rights, when the European Court of Human Rights has already ruled against Malta’s unlawful 18-month detention system for failed asylum seekers.

Tuesday’s protests were instigated after the majority of some 271 detainees at the Safi detention centre had their claims for protection rejected at the appeals stage before the maximum 12-month detention period, with the result of having their detention extended to 18 months.

While Mifsud Bonnici today said the European Court of Human Rights gives states the right to limit the movement of those who enter their territory, the same court has already ruled against Malta in the judgment in Louled Massoud v Malta, where the Court found Malta to be in violation of Article 5 if the Convention.

It found that Malta had violated Massoud’s right to liberty and security when it detained him for 18 months after his appeal had been rejected, because there was no realistic chance of him being deported once his claim was rejected.

Mifsud Bonnici claimed Malta’s detention policy as being in conformity with the European Convention on Human Rights as a “lawful arrest or detention of a person to prevent his effecting an unauthorised entry into the country or of a person against whom action is being taken with a view to deportation or extradition.”

“It is not considered that Tuesday’s incident constitutes an appropriate platform to direct criticism of Malta’s detention policy,” Mifsud Bonnici said, “particularly given that the riot was sparked off by the receipt of notifications informing migrants that their application for international protection was definitively turned down.”

Mifsud Bonnci said Malta has a recognition rate that consistently exceeds 50%, which proves that the system is by no means unfair to the asylum seeker.

However, Council of Europe human rights commissioner Thomas Hammarberg has criticised the appeals system becauseaccess of asylum seekers and their lawyers to their case file is extremely limited. While the recognition rate at first instance is remarkably high, the Commissioner noted that only six decisions of the Refugee Commissioner have been overturned by the Appeals Board since 2004.

Human rights NGOs such aditus, the Jesuit Refugee Service, and the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) condemned the violence by detainees but pointed out the dire conditions inside the Safi detention centre.

“The outbreak of the riot at this detention centre which resulted in injuries to public officers and damage to public property, is a regrettable incident that cannot but be condemned by all stakeholders in the sector,” Mifsud Bonnici said.

He said the force used to contain the protests had been to the minimum extent possible.

The minister also said refurbishment initiatives took place at the Hermes Block at Ħal Far detention centre, while the Agency for the Welfare of Asylum Seekers (AWAS) has already launched an educational programme for detained migrants at the Ħal Far detention centre.

“AWAS will be expanding this programme to include the Safi Detention Centre shortly.

“It must be recalled, however, that illegal migration does pose very significant pressures for Malta – a small country with limited resources. Notwithstanding several limitations, Malta has in place a fair and transparent asylum system fully in accord with its international and EU obligations.”

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Meta ha jqum mir-raqda, dan?
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The circumstances in the Louled Massoud v Malta case were very particular and specific and cannot be used as an argument against mandatory detention as Mr Vella is trying to do. What the Court found was that Malta did not continue to pursue the necessary preparations for Mr. Massoud's deportation with enough swiftness. This judgement cannot therefore be applied as a blanket example, and it is almost farcical to try and apply it in Tuesday's case because the authorities are just starting the repatriation process for the migrants who took part in the process (given that they have just received their final refusal to their request for asylum.) Furthermore, it's also silly to argue that these people have no real right of appeal once their request for asylum is refused by the Refugee Commissioner. This year so far, the commissioner has processed 722 applications, granting asylum to 574 of them. That's an approval rate of practically 80%!! Hardly the recognition rate of 50% mentioned in the article. Maybe someone should take the trouble to compare Malta's recognition rate of asylum applications with those of other EU countries. There would certainly be a few surprises...
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Il punt jibqa li Malta qatt ma ikolonizzat lil hadd, u qed taghmel l ahjar li tista ma dawn n nies billi isalvahom mil gharqa, titmahom u wara 18 l xahar jispiccaw jigru fis saqajn, jikompetu ghax xoghol mal maltin u jiehdu l beneficcji socjali minkejja li qatt ma halsu penny fil kaxxa ta Malta. La ghandna dritt inkeccuhom, la ghandna dritt nghidu daqshekk (jekk illum jigu miljun mil Libya nispiccaw nitqannaw u nhallsu ghalihom), u jekk jinqabdu fl Ewropa wara li gew hawn jintbaghtu Malta. L unika dritt li ghandna hu li indahhlu idejna fl but u nhallsu. R Ringrazzjament? Tghajjir mil NGOs, tghajjir mil pajjizi barranin (li kollha jisparixxu meta jissemma l frazi burden sharing) u tkissir min dawn r rizorsi li nghiduha kif inhi, MA JRIDHOM HADD. . L Ewropa ghandha taghmel sehma bhal kif ghandha taghmel l bqija tad dinja (xjaghmlu bl flus l pajjizi mgherqin bil flus taz zejt aqta forsi jixtru xi club Ingliz u jimluh players). Biss nghiduha kif inhi ma jistax ikun li dawn jibqaw sejrin kif inhuma (gwerrer etnici/civili, korruzzjoni etc). Wasal z zmien li certu pajjizi Afrikani iqumu fuq saqajhom u jsolvu l problemi huma. L Ewropa ma tistax tibqa tmantni ghexieren ta immigranti li dejjem gejjin, specjalment meta tikkunsidra li dawn meta ma jghogobomx xi haga ikissru. . S Sitwazzjoni mhiex perfetta Biss nerga nirrepeti, dak hu li Malta tista toffri. Hadd ma qalilom jigu hawn.
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@ Ce...Jiddispjacini ma naqbilx mieghek, L-ewwel haga mhux huma ikunu iridu jigu ghawn. Jekk jissugraw hajjithom ( il maggoranza taghhom ) ghax f`pajjizhom, ma ghandhomx cans li jghejxu ghax ser jinqattlu. Allura mewt b`mewt jissugraw li jaharbu. Issib minnhom li japroffettaw mis sitwazzjoni. Issa tat 3 course meal tajba. Tista itihom dak kollu li halaq Alla, pero jekk lil bniedem tehodlu id dinjita u il liberta tista taqbdu u terga titfaw il bahar, pero din id darba b`mazzra m`ghonqu. Min jaf li kieku naqbad lil xi hadd, intih Biljun ewro inzommu ta l-akbar sinjur pero maqful go cella ghal ghomru...trid tiehu cans. Fuq l-ahhar punt naqbel mieghek, pero meta tikkunsidra li dawn il pajjizi ta l -Afrika kollha kienu taht hakma Ewropea, ghalhiex hallewhom hekk jieklu lil xulxin u ma ghalmuhomx jghejxu f`demokkrazija ? Mela l-Ewropa ghanda id dmir li tirranga lil dawn il pajjizi, u ghalhekk dejjem nghejd li dawk il hames raprezentanti li ghanda fil U.E. qeghedin hemm ghal gallarija., ghax imisshom ilhom ittambru fuq din il haga, u juzaw il veto sabiex ma tghaddi l-ebda ligi sakemm jiehdu bis serjeta din il kwistjoni.
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Nikoo1 . Hadd ma qalilom biex jigu fl "kamp tal koncentrament". Huma gew, anzi biex inzid, spiccaw jirriskjaw hajjithom l Maltin biex nigbruhom ghax kienu qeghdin jgherqu. Hawn Malta dawn jigu, jinataw hwejjeg, three course meal u dan fi zmien meta ghaddejjin min krizi finanzjarja li twerwrek u li l gvern il hin kollhu jissikka c cinturin.Taf li hawn Maltin li anqas saqaf fuq rashhom u ikel regolari fl platt mghandhom? Tfisser qeghdin jigu trattati ahjar min dawn l Maltin. . Jekk iridu l affarijiet li ghandhom l Maltin jaghmlu bhal Maltin u jirsistu biex pajjizhom isir sura ta nies. Ghandhom rizorsi naturali f'arthom li ahna lanqas biss nimmaginaw li jkollna. Ahna konna ex kolonja daqshom, kif ahna qomna fuq saqajna u huma le? Forsi ghax ma nkissrux kull meta xi haga ma nehduwiex? Min jaf!
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Luke Camilleri
Missu jmur jogqghod Hal Safi jew Hal Kirkop Dr. karm halli jkollu is-serhan u l-barka minn Strassburgu! Bil-Malti Pur...qieghed jigi nitnejjek minn Hutu il-Maltin!
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@ John Smith Tista' tghidli x'ghamlu l-bojod meta mietu eluf kbar ta' nies Tutsi u Hutu? XEJN!! Ara fill-Libya...l-ewwel niehdu it-te' ma Gaddafi inkluz l-GHAZIZ EFA U GONZI u wara niftahru kemm in-NATO qeghda teqred lil Gaddafi...l-interess huwa l-flus u l-poter u mhux il-liberta!! Kieku kienet il-liberta ilhom li tefghu bombi fis-Sirja u nehhew dittaturi Afrikani minn nofs!! Taf kemm kumpaniji kbar taz-zejt u tad-djamanti fl-Afrika ibbenefikaw meta tnehhew certu gvernijiet biex ikollhom profit akbar? Mela halluhom jipprotestaw ghax hekk biss in-nies jisimghu. Morru u ghixu gewwa d-detention centres halli taraw f'liema stat qieghdin u wara tkellmu...allura nghid jiena x'hemm differenti minn dawk li jhadnu twemmin Nazist u minn dawk li jitkellmu kontra s-suwed? Differenza wahda - li ghad m'ghandhomx gas chambers ghax kampijiet tal-koncentrament diga hemm!!
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L-ewwel niftahru kemm Malta issalva nies mill-gharqa u wara niftahru kemm inzommuhom gewwa!!! Nistaqsi lil Ministru, jista' jghidilna kemm minn dawn gew minn jeddhom hawn Malta? Kemm minn dawn kienu f'nofs ta' bahar u l-AFM dahlithom Malta bl-iskuza li ghandhom bzonn l-ghajnuna? Possibli l-AWAS l-educational programmes biss li ghamlet? Allura kif tispjega ghax tpoggi appell tehel sitt xhur ohra? Allura nistaqsi u forsi min ghandu x'jaqsam mal-immigranti illegali biex tghidulhom biex ma japplikawx ghal refugee status ghax il-policy qieghda biss ghal min japplika. Fetah halqu l-Ministru biex jiddefendi sistema li tmur kontra d-drittijiet umani!!
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Naqbel mieghek perfettament Guid, imma b'certa riserva. alla halaqhom bhalma holoq lilna. Ahan qatt ma hrabna izda bi tbatija bnejna nazzjon minn fuq bicca gebla xotta kolla haxix hazin. Barranin geww hafna imma dejjem urejnihom, b'mod jew iehor, malajr jew fit-tul, illi din il-blata hi taghna. Ahna poplu li minn xejn bnejna rizorsi umani li jhabbtuha ma pajjizi ohra, u illum niftahru li qeghdin veru mhux ma l'aqwa imma lanqas qeghdin ma l-aghar. Bid-differenzi kollha taghna bnejna nazzjon liberu nahdmu ghall rasna u kullhadd jghix dicenti. Ovvjamnet perfetti ma ahniex ghax hawn min jghix fil-faqar jew vicin tieghu. Imma kollox ma kollox, ghall bicca gebla li nghixu fuqha imxejna u mxejjna sew. allura nghid jien, dawn in-nies, ma kinux kapaci jibnu nazzjon minn arthom, kolla rizorsi. Sewwa mela jaharbu minn art kollha rizorsi ghax mhumiex kapaci jesplojtjaw ir-rizrsi u jigu ghanda fuq din il-gbejna xotta. Niggarantilek li kieku flok l-afrikani kienu l-maltin li jghixu hemm, kieku l-kontinent afrikan kollu hu aqwa mic-cina w l-amerka flimkien. Nithassarhom iva, imma dawn in-nies iridu jitghallmu li Alla taghhom art kolla rizorsi u mhux baqghu sa llum jistennew il-manna. Iridu jqumu bhall ma qamu l-maltin kontra l-francizi u kontra l-inglizi u fl-ahhar jaslu bhalma wasalna ahna qabilhom. ghandom art mimlija metalli, deheb, zejt. They want freedom - well they have to first obtain it on hteir own soil with a bit of determination and will power. They have to empower themselves. They have to pull their sleeves and fight. No freedom was ever won without a fight. It is them who choose this way of life, marauding form one ocuntry to anotherand leaving hteir lands in famine because of their corrupt governmemts that they are afraid? to fight.
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Daqs erba mitt sena ilu , mil l Ingilterra u l-Amerika bl`ghajnuna ta hafna pajjizi Ewropej..kienu imorru gewwa L- Afrika joqtlu , u jisirqu lis suwed sabiex ibiehom bhala ilsiera. Sabiex jaslu fuq ix xwieni kienu jaraw il kalvarju, u gieli ramewhom il bahar, marbutin flimkien u hajjin. Wara kienu jaqfluhom sakemm jibda il biegh tahhom. Qisek qeghed tara suq ta l-annimali. Maqfulin bil ktajjen min ghonqom , idejhom u riglejhom. Illum fis sena 2011, nigbruhom kontra ir rieda taghhom mill bahar . Sa ma jaslu jaraw il kalvarju, u gieli gherqu, naqfluhom bla ma ghamlu reat, inzommuhom maqfulin ghal snin, taht kundizzjonijiet degredanti. Ma jafux ser jigri minnhom, nistmawhom bhala numri u mhux umani. Mela dawn is suwed ghalhekk hallaqhom Alla, sabiex ..............