Behaviour that ridicules, attacks, and humiliates individuals on the basis of their disability will now be considered a hate crime punishable by imprisonment.
Malta’s Cabinet approved amendments in the criminal code following a proposal by the Social Wellbeing and Inclusion Minister Julia Farrugia Portelli.
The new legislation will outlaw the humiliation, maltreatment and abuse of individuals due to their disabilities.
Farrugia put forward the first reading during yesterday’s parliamentary session.
Illum fil-Parlament ressaqt l-ewwel qari li jemenda l-Kodiċi Kriminali biex meta persuna tiġi mgħajra bid-diżabbiltà tagħha, isir reat kriminali. Dan wara li dalgħodu stess il-Kabinett tal-Ministri approva tali deċiżjoni. Le, mhux ok li għax xi ħadd għandu diżabbilta' jiġi attakkat, imkasbar u umiljat.
Posted by Julia Farrugia Portelli on Monday, July 12, 2021
She detailed the newly implemented law saying “yes, it is necessary because although we are living in 2021, we’ve found ourselves in a situation where last week a person was called-out due to their disability”.
“We even have a colleague in this room, Kevin Cutajar, who only a few months ago was humiliated because of his disability”, she continued, referring to a meme that made fun of his visual-impairment.
Farrugia also condemned Norman Lowell’s disgraceful comments about children with impairments saying that it is “unacceptable that someone in a position of leadership can demonise people with disabilities”.
The proudly proclaimed Nazi (Lowell) said that “no one wants handicapped people”, he even suggested that “horrible mentally defective babies should be aborted or granted a benign mercy killing”.
And despite being reported, the police argued that there are no grounds for his prosecution.
As it stands, the current law does criminalise hate-crimes for several minority groups but does not directly address the case of people with disabilities.
What do you think about this new law?