The Anti Poverty Forum (APF) Malta unites with all the NGO’s who condemned the tragic death of Mamadou Kamara on June 30th 2012. APF Malta avows that irregular immigrants should be treated with full respect for their human rights and human dignity. Mobility does not mean the infringement of the dignity of a person. The dignity of a person entails that vulnerable people in the detention centres should be provided with care, support and the treatment that they require. This aim can only be achieved if the personnel are motivated and well trained.
Numerous questions regarding the detention policy were raised due to the death of Mamadou Kamara. This issue is not something new. The standards of the local detention centres still have much to be desired and are a far cry from recognised ones. The majority of irregular migrants are constantly living in squalid accommodation and have to endure long detention periods in inhumane conditions. It must be said that the irregular migrants are not the only ones suffering, but also the detention guards who must work in the same conditions daily.
Regular visits from the Commissioner for Human Rights results in recommendations which need to be put into practice. APF Malta urges the Maltese authorities to align measures with the requirements of the European Convention on Human Rights by re-evaluating the law and practice relating to the detention of irregular immigrants, as well as that of asylum seekers.
Furthermore, we cannot overlook the unacceptable reality of racism and xenophobia in Malta. Public education in this area needs to be intensified. The Maltese authorities need to strengthen efforts in ensuring respect for human rights. The Church needs to intensify its effort at parish and national level to nature a spirit of acceptance, respect and love for suffering others irrespective of race and ethnicity. The media should also contribute by ensuring that the materials published do not collude in any way with intolerant attitudes and expressions.
A genuine collective effort between all stakeholders can be a catalyst to pave the way forward to deal with this problem and hopefully to eradicate it completely. To end on a positive note, in the past years, there has been a sustained effort by many NGO’s, whose contribution in terms of legal aid, in social work, accommodation and other areas has enabled immigrants to integrate Maltese society. What is urgently needed are measures to sustain these efforts in respecting the dignity and the well being of this category of our society.