Mifsud Bonnici in harsh criticism of Amnesty International's report on migrants' refoulement

The Ministry for Justice and Home Affairs has branded a report by Amnesty International as “inaccurate and inconsistent” over criticism of Malta’s arbitrary detention policy, and the removal of migrants to Libya during search and rescue missions.

“It is peppered with inaccuracies and inconsistencies, which are testimony to AI’s customary selective, subjective and warped evaluation of the challenges that Malta faces with illegal immigration,” minister Carm Mifsud Bonnici said in a harsh statement.

He took issue with AI for claiming that Malta’s mandatory detention regime for illegal immigrants is unlawful according to the European Convention on Human Rights.

READ Amnesty International's report: Libya and Malta failing asylum seekers

Mifsud Bonnici said the Convention’s right to liberty and security provides for “the 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.”

The minister said the European Court of Human Rights has always concluded that States have the right to limit the movement of those who enter their territory and this limitation does not in any manner imply any violation of fundamental human rights.

“Detention is also considered necessary in order to enable the authorities to make the necessary arrangements to effect removal and in fact the authorities pursue efforts to make the necessary arrangements to remove the person throughout the detention period,” Mifsud Bonnici said.

He also said that the ECHR’s judgement in the case of Louled Massoud v Malta case, which upheld his claim that his 18 month detention pending his deportation from Malta violated his fundamental human right to freedom from arbitrary detention, was “particular and specific”.

“Malta was found to be in violation of this Article because in the case in question the authorities did not continue to pursue the necessary preparations for deportation with enough swiftness.

“This judgement cannot therefore be applied to other cases in a general manner, where the authorities continue to make efforts to conclude the necessary arrangements to remove the person throughout the 18-month period of detention.”

Mifsud Bonnici also said the fact that only a small number of first instance negative decisions were overturned by the Refugee Appeals Board, should not lead to the inference that the process is not adequate.

“On the contrary, it reflects the fact that the asylum determination process at first instance is carried out in a thorough manner and is not restrictive in granting international protection where it is due.”

Mifsud Bonnici also denied that Malta returned asylum seekers back to Libya on 17 July 2010. “The persons in question were never on Maltese territory or under Maltese control. They were disembarked directly from their craft to a Libyan patrol craft back to Libya from where they had left.”

“AI’s allegation that Malta infringed the principle of non-refoulement is again therefore completely unfounded. The Maltese Authorities have always complied with their international obligations and fundamental rights have always been respected in the context of operations carried out by the Armed Forces of Malta (AFM).”

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trust me guys, ive been brought up in England and if you think for one second that Somalian immigration to Malta is a good thing then you are sincerely wrong. Firstly they will bring Islam and demand benefits for the numerous amount of children they have, secondly there men will try and marry and convert Maltese girls and you will see an uprise in 'mix race' children. they will soon outnumber the maltese population and demand more mosques be built in malta. Also, they are the cause of many crimes in England and will take the education system for granted. so please do not try and embody the Hospitaller spirit and save that for christian refugee's because trust me they would NOT do the same for us and do not and i cant stress enough my despair at the thought of my grandfathers beautiful Mediterranean island be overun by muslim immigrants. its happened in england and due to EU laws CANNOT be reversed.
Albert Zammit
@ EUTbatija: I hope you don't go to receive Sacraments in Church. Your words are blasphemy, even to those ears that are not in any way religious. I disassociate myself completely from the evil words and thoughts spouted out from EUTbatija! Anyway, we can imagine where these words are coming from. Siehbi, jekk int imdejjaq, mur, sib kolonna u habbat rasek maghha tlett darbiet - u jekk wara dan, tkun ghadek f'sessik, kompli habbatha sakemm toghxa u taqa'! Umbaghad, iva ... umbaghad tkun naqra iktar ta' min ihares lejk!
truth seeker no Mr/Ms truth seeker, protecting one's country from an invasion of illegal immigrants is not illegal. It is OUR RIGHT not to have our cuntry invaded by unknown persons. They should have gone to another African country in the vast African continent not come to Malta. As I said, if you have a bleeding heart for the illegal immigrants accompany them back to their own countries and help them there for they shall never be allowed to remain in Malta.
eleonoray86cws Ca?uana
Mr tbatija the migants in question are from Somalia. I follow current events and news, human rights webstites as well as talk to migrants themselves - no one CHOOSES to leave Somalia, people FLEE from it. You may not agree with me, however the right to seek asylum is in conformity with both International and Maltese law. You may choose to be inhumane, that's your business. But what you are proposing is also ILLEGAL
truth seeker do you expect that the potential millions that may make it to Malat are to be kept here? No way truth seeker. If they don't want to end up n trouble and be deported back to their own countries they should not leave their own countries in the first place. Bleeding hearts can go to the illegal immigrants own countries and help them there.
eleonoray86cws Ca?uana
Dr Mifsud Bonnici is blatantly lying in an attempt to sound populistic (or to justify Dr Gonzi who wants to pay Gaddafi extortion money). No migrant would have ever accepted to go to Libya voluntarily, this is pure bull. And the AFM is not to blame but the govt. This is not the first time people ended up tortured or even murdered thanks to our governments irresponsibility. While it would be unfair to compare Malta's human rights record with that of Libya, it doesn't mean our govt's hands are completely clean from these people's blood
While agreeing with you about our politicians I totally agree that no illegal immigrant must be allowed to remain in Malta. They came here illegally without any documents, are costing us millions to keep them, are taking the work from Maltese workers, are causing problems with Maltese persons, have turned areas into no-go ghetto areas, are a big burden on our social and health services and will cause more problems in the future for us and our children. We have seen what happened in other countries such as Italy, France, England and others and don't want this to happen in our country. They must be expelled and not even one of them allowed to remain in Malta. I know they read this paper on line so those of you who are reading this get out because we do not want you here as has been constantly shown by public polls. Remaining or trying to remain here only shows your arrogance which we shall never accept and will continue our mission to expel all of you out of our country because this is OUR country NOT yours.
Keith Goodlip
That's the trouble with politicians- they can't take the flak. Malta infringes the rules, all the fingers point to the politicians and their (lack of) responsibility . If they can't stand the heat they should get out of the kitchen.