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A Recent Timeline Of Malta’s Institutionalised Neglect Of Migrants

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Back in 2020, Malta’s migrant detention system was described as amounting to “institutional neglect” by the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

It looked at a number of cases throughout the years – but anyone in Malta need not go far back to see examples of mistreatment of migrants on the island.

From the cold-blooded murder of Lassana Cisse, to the discarding of injured Jaiteh Lamin, and the alleged beating of an Asian national revealed in a shocking video by Lovin Malta just weeks ago, the remnants of racist thoughts and behaviours can be seen all over the island.

Anti-racism group Aditus compiled a “shocking and shameful timeline recording the known instances of institutional neglect and violence suffered by migrants at the hands of various state actors in Malta throughout the years” – here is a selection of those instances.

November, 2022

Two Pakistanis illegally detained for over 40 days.

“Awais Mohammed and Hasan Ali were released by the court, illegally detained in Hal Far and Safi Barracks for 42 days. It was clear that there was confusion as to under which entity’s orders they were actually being detained and on what grounds.”

September, 2022

Three on-duty police officers abducted and assaulted black migrants.

“Abdulhamid Saied and Abduwili Ahmed Ali were abducted, assaulted and injured motivated by hate based on race, colour by three police officers.”

September, 2022

Indiscriminate Marsa Raids

“Heavy-handed and aggressive police raids result in regular migrants having doors kicked in and unable to be secured due to forced entry. Police shouted, kicked doors down and used big dogs which intimidated residents.”

December, 2021

Migrant woman turned away with Panadol prescription, dies in her sleep.

“Makame Camara died in her sleep just before Christmas. Relatives claimed that Camara’s repeated visits to the Mater Dei emergency room were often met with prescriptions from Panadol.”

October, 2020

Man illegally detained for 144 days, court concerned that people were being detained without a legal basis.

“A man was illegally detained for 144 days after being rescued at sea. The court voiced concern over the substantial number of migrants facing a similar fate, as it was the 7th time in 2020 that it was faced with similar incidents.”

April – June, 2020

Over 400 rescued migrants kept on the high seas for months on charted ferry boats.

“Over 400 rescued migrants were kept in detention on the high seas between April and June 2020 in ferry boats charted by the Government.”

Find the full list by following this link

Black Lives Matter Malta thanked Aditus for compiling the “non-exhaustive” list. 

“Institutionalised racism is nothing new to Malta – this has been happening for the past decades, and so when we speak of systemic and institutionalised racism it is not because it is an ‘import’ of racial issues from the US or other countries, but because this racism already exists in Malta and needs to be addressed.”
“Pretending that racism does not exist in Malta is not what will unite the various communities residing in Malta; instead of seeking (as per Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s words) ‘a negative peace which is the absence of tension’, we need to actively address racism in order to reach ‘a positive peace which is the presence of justice’.”

The timeline comes as a protest calling out the government for not creating the appropriate and necessary conditions for migrants to successfully integrate and thrive on the island was held.

Delve deeper into Malta’s institutions and their relationship with race in our documentary below:

Do you think Malta’s institutions are inherently racist?

READ NEXT: Siblings Under State Care Can Now Be Raised Together In New Specialised Homes In Malta

Johnathan is Editor-in-Chief of Lovin Malta, and an award-winning Maltese journalist interested in social justice, politics, minority issues, music and food. Follow him at @supreofficialmt on Instagram, and send him news, food and music stories at [email protected]

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