Migrants living in Malta will this morning march from Parliament to the Home Affairs Ministry in an attempt to start a conversation about their dehumanisation and exploitation as a result of the country’s policies.
The protest is being organised in wake of an incident last week, which saw 32-year-old Gambian migrant Lamin Jaiteh discarded on a pavement by his employer after he fell two storeys at a construction site where he was working.
The protest will be held today at 10am and will see demonstrators marching to the Home Affairs Ministry.
“I am seeing that what the media and the government are doing is personalise the problem and make it seem like a one-time incident,” Mohamed Ali Aguerbi, one of the protests’ organisers said.
“They forget that this is happening because residency and work permit policies used by the ministry are encouraging human trafficking.”
Jaiteh was revealed to have been engaged to work without a permit, leading his employer to dump him on the road and tell him to tell the police that he had been hit by a car.
“Migrants are dehumanised and make an easy target because they have no political rights,” Ali Aguerbi added.
While it was positive that there was an outpouring of support for Jaiteh, it was also important to start a societal debate about how the country treats migrant workers. In fact, Jaiteh’s story, while shocking, did not come as a surprise.
Hundreds of migrant workers are put to work in various sectors of the Maltese economy, in many cases being afforded little to no rights, in addition to not being documented workers.
“There are hundreds of Lamin in Malta who face all types of injustice every day. What will happen to them? Should we wait for everyone to be injured, shot, or die to start a fund-raising activity, or to give permanent residency or start saying that racism is not Maltese? When will the government start to view all residents as human beings?”
He pointed to a new policy for asylum seekers which effectively prevents those seeking refuge from a country considered to be safe are prevented from working for nine months.
“They will find a way to work and Lamin’s tragic incident will happen again and then it will be personalised again and nothing will change for the community.”
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