Articles & Speeches

(This article was written for Servir by Dr Katrine Camilleri, director of JRS Malta) 

Going to the Heart of the Crises (November 2015) 

As European states search for political and practical solutions to the ‘refugee crisis’, the needs of the refugees themselves are rarely considered. Instead of prioritizing the protection of refugees, the states are mainly intent on protecting their borders.

The arrival of some 500,000 men, women and children, who crossed the external borders of the EU between January and August 2015 in search of protection, has left the bloc reeling in shock as it tries to come to terms with what might well become the new ‘normal’.

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(This article was written for the Times of Malta by Dr Katrine Camilleri, director of JRS Malta)

The despair to stay alive (September 2015)

Faced with an unprecedented number of men, women and children seeking protection and the rising toll of completely preventable deaths both outside and within Europe’s borders, Monday’s EU emergency summit is the moment for Europe’s leaders to achieve what they have so far abysmally failed to do: show true leadership and agree on a shared and effective response to this extraordinary challenge.

This implies not only assuming shared responsibility for welcoming and offering protection to some of the asylum seekers arriving in Greece and Italy but also preventing more unnecessary deaths. A genuine commitment to the core European values of solidarity and the protection of human rights and dignity demands no less.

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(This interview with JRS Malta director Dr Katrine Camilleri appeared on MaltaToday)

Action speaks louder than public declerations (September 2015)

There is nothing stopping the government from providing ‘safe, legal’ passage for asylum seekers. JRS legal counsel Katrine Camilleri urges Malta to translate its own words into action

The last few weeks seem to have ushered in a profound change to the way Europe approaches its thorniest and darkest issue. Until recently, hysterical European politicians regularly sounded dire warnings about an ‘invasion’ by ‘marauding migrants’. But a recent spike in fatalities on the Eastern Mediterranean route –and above all, the sudden circulation of truly harrowing images taken in Europe’s 21st century ‘killing fields’ – seem to have had an instant and emphatic impact on popular perception.

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A light shines in the darkness...(February 2015)

Fr Mark Cachia sj reflects on his experience as a priest celebrating Mass in detention.

There are some things which are best left unsaid. Because the moment you try to put them into words, something essential is lost and one is left with the nagging feeling that the words expressed do an injustice to the reality described. For example, we all know that love exists, but notwithstanding the efforts of humanity’s best poets and writers, no written word has ever managed to fully capture the essence of the reality we call love. Closer to home, Catholics truly believe that in the consecrated piece of bread, there is the real presence of Christ. But no theologian has ever or will ever manage to “explain” fully and exhaustively this central belief of the Catholic Church. It just seems that we lack the appropriate words to do justice to the most important things in our life.

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(This article was written for the Times of Malta by Dr Katrine Camilleri, director of JRS Malta)

A rose by any other name... (September 2014)

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet – William Shakespeare.

Last Thursday, August 28, after an unusually quiet summer, some 257 migrants rescued at sea were brought to Malta. The arrivals, mostly Syrians and Palestinians, included a relatively large number of children.The following evening, families with children were moved from Safi detention centre to a makeshift centre at the Naxxar Trade Fair Grounds...

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Voices of Faith (March 2014)

 
At the first ever Voices of Faith storytelling event held in the Vatican, on the 8th of March 2014, 10 remarkable women shared their personal stories demonstrating how their unwavering Christian faith has positively impacted their life, greater society and the world.

Dr. Katrine Camilleri, director of JRS Malta, was among those who shared their testimony

Read story here

Or watch video below:

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(This article was written for the Times of Malta by Dr Katrine Camilleri, director of JRS Malta)

Are we willing to listen? (March 2014)


On February 25, detainees held at Lyster Barracks staged a protest during a visit by members of the House Social Affairs Committee. Like others before it, the protest was dismissed by the authorities as unjustified and abusive - "instigated by a group who had their asylum applications rejected recently". The detainees were simply attempting to obtain by force what they had not managed to obtain through legal means and what, by implication, they were not entitled to. The reason for their protest could, therefore, legitimately be ignored.

We beg to differ...

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(This article was written by Times of Malta journalist Kristina Chetcuti)

The man who made kids understand the story behind the migrants' journey (February 2014)

This column is about Goitom Yosief. He lived in Malta for eight years, after fleeing Eritrea. Last Wednesday, he left our island for repatriation in the US.

I first met Goitom two years ago, when I had interviewed him about a children’s book, Kidane – A Story of Hope, published by the Jesuit Refugee Service.

The book tells the story of Kidane, a young student in Eritrea, who at 23 took the decision to flee his country. It illustrates the perils of the trip, the sadness at not seeing his family and his wish to be a geography teacher...

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(This article was written for the Times of Malta by Fr Joseph Cassar sj, former director of JRS Malta)

Push-backs, humanity, idolatry and faith (July 2013)

Over the past few days, a significant number of people with no religious affiliation – mostly Maltese – have expressed their surprise to me at how many Christians among us seemingly have no problem in squaring push-backs with the faith.

They raise the question knowing that I am a priest. More so, when the proposed push-back of newly-arrived Somali boat migrants to Libya was going to take place the day after Pope Francis visited the nearby island of Lampedusa to remember migrants who had died at sea trying to reach Europe and appealed to the global community to turn away from the “globalisation of indifference”.

Not a few Christian Maltese are asking themselves the same question. I have no answer, but will offer some reflections...

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(This article was written for the Times of Malta by Danielle Vella)

The truly strong help the weak (July 2013)

On Tuesday, Malta very came close to having a national day of shame to go down in the annals of our history.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat announced that the Government was actively considering returning Somali migrants – who had arrived in Malta in the morning – back to Libya that evening.

One justification for the unacceptable decision to push back migrants to well-documented danger was as worrying as the decision itself: to show we were not “pushovers” in European eyes. Among other things, Muscat later said the Libyan government had shown “understanding” in their discussions on Tuesday and that children, their parents, pregnant women and those who were physically vulnerable would not have been sent back.

Two fundamental realities were ignored here: the nature of human rights and the situation in Libya...

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