Home Affairs Minister meets NGOs to discuss migration issues

Carmelo Abela plans on holding regular meetings with human rights NGOs • proposes national migration policy bringing together works and responsibilities spread across various ministries

Home Affairs Minister Carmelo Abela meets NGOs
Home Affairs Minister Carmelo Abela meets NGOs

Home Affairs Minsiter Carmelo Abela held a meeting with a number of human rights organisations following a public call by the NGOs to meet the minister.

Abela has now vowed to meet NGOs regularly to discuss migration issues and detention policy.

NGOs on Friday expressed their disgust at the way a report by judge Geoffrey Valenzia into the death of Malian migrant Mamadou Kamara in 2012 had been gathering dust with no visible action being taken on it.

“I want to meet the NGOs altogether. I’d be happy to meet them at the ministry and listen to them. It’s my first week so I am in listening mode and want to seek constant dialogue with them,” Abela told MaltaToday on Sunday.,

“We will be following up on the Valenzia report, but I need more time to consult with ministry officials. I have my own views on migration, which is why I want to speak to NGOs about more than just detention.”

Now, a week since his appointment to the Cabinet, Abela met KOPIN, Malta Emigrant Commission, Integra, aditus Foundation, JRS, Migrants Network for Equality, the Organisation for Friendship in Diversity and SOS Malta.

According to a government statement, the NGOs welcomed this meeting and expressed optimism for dialogue to remain open and structured.

The newly appointed minister called for a national policy on immigration, bringing together the works and responsibilities spread across various ministries.

“The NGOs have also agreed to take part in this process. On his part, the minister emphasised that he deemed NGOs as partners,” the statement said.

Last week, the NGOs said that the Valenzia Report into the death of Mamadou Kamara was “a scathing commentary on the way Malta has freely decided to treat men, women and children who are running for their lives.”

They describe the Valenzia report as one of the most constructive and thorough reports to date, joining so many other reports in “unequivocally condemning a policy that seeks to deprive migrants of their very humanity by locking them away out of sight, out of scrutiny and out of human rights protection.”

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