To respect human dignity, Malta’s detention system needs urgent reforms!

“To respect human dignity, Malta’s detention system needs urgent reforms!”

Malta Refugee Council welcomes the CPT report on Malta’s detention regime.

The Malta Refugee Council fully endorses the report published earlier this week by the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT). We welcome the report as a clear confirmation of the concerns repeatedly flagged by several of our members. In particular, we share the CPT’s findings that Malta’s detention regime verges on “institutional mass neglect by the authorities," with sub-standard living conditions exacerbating a disregard for international norms on the detention of persons.

Whilst we fully acknowledge the serious challenges Malta continues to face in receiving relatively large numbers of asylum-seekers, we nonetheless underline the CPT’s observation that these challenges “cannot absolve the Maltese authorities of their international human rights obligations.” We also echo the report’s appeal to the European Union and the Council of Europe to provide a consolidated approach to address Malta’s situation.

Within this context, we are keen to note the positive developments brought about by the new Detention Services Director. We hope these developments are merely the first steps of a major overhaul of the situation in the centres. It is in this spirit that we invite the authorities to engage with us in a discussion centred on a reform of Malta’s detention regime. Together with the urgent recommendations made by the Committee, we are particularly eager to explore more humane and dignified alternatives to the current regime while ensuring full compliance with Malta’s international and European human rights commitments. Alternatives do exist.

11 March 2021


The Malta Refugee Council is a network of Maltese non-governmental organisations working for the promotion of the fundamental human rights of persons in forced migration. The Council’s mission is to advocate for legislation, policies and practices that are in accordance with Malta’s international obligations and best practice in the sector. Furthermore, the Council seeks to foster an environment that is welcoming and inclusive of refugees.

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