Government reacts to Amnesty International report – Sixty years of Human Rights Failure

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Amnesty International
The Government has issued a strongly worded statement against the recent report published by Amnesty International which was entitled “Sixty years of Human Rights Failure.” The full text of the Governments reply is quoted below.

“The section concerning Malta in the report published by Amnesty International on the 27th May entitled Sixty years of Human Rights Failure – Governments must apologise and act now is incorrect, off track and outdated. Contrary to what the report states, Malta’s detention policy does not run against its international obligations. Furthermore, Malta has never failed to adequately protect people stranded at sea within its Search and Rescue Region. The Maltese authorities would have answered any question Amnesty International would have asked.

In regards to the search and rescue incidents of the 21st and 24th May 2007, it should be noted that both occurred outside the Maltese Search and Rescue Region. In the first case the boat was neither sinking nor in any imminent danger whilst in the second, due notice was given to the relevant competent authorities.

As for detention, it is totally incorrect to state that at the end of June 2007, there were 3,000 migrants detained. In fact, the actual number at the time was 1,300. The figure quoted by Amnesty International seems to have been made up of the total number of immigrants held in detention and the 1,800 people accommodated in the open centres. It is worth noting that those immigrants availing themselves of the open centre facilities are free to move out as they please and cannot in any way be considered to be detainees.

The claims made by Medicines du Monde (MDM) and quoted in Amnesty International’s report are also false. It is not true that a pregnant woman gave birth in a detention centre. Moreover there is no facility for solitary confinement at any of the detention centres in Malta. It is therefore hard to understand how Amnesty International could condone and endorse such an unfounded allegation.

It is likewise unfair and unjust to state and to give the impression that the Maltese Authorities are not providing the adequate reception conditions in the Hal Far open centre. Malta has done and is doing everything possible within its capabilities to provide the necessary level of accommodation.

With regards to the European Committee on Prevention of Torture report published in 2007, the Maltese Government already had the opportunity to rebut and reply to the said. However, let it be abundantly clear that the Police Lock-Up in Floriana has not been in use for the purpose of detaining irregular immigrants for the past two years.”

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