Detention for up to 18 months remained mandatory for asylum-seekers and irregular migrants, and safeguards to challenge it were inadequate. Legal protection against hate crimes was extended to LGBTI people.
The number of people who arrived by sea increased by 28% (from 1,577 to 2,023) on the previous year. The government continued to automatically detain undocumented migrants, often for up to 18 months, in breach of Malta’s international human rights obligations. Unaccompanied children whose age was in question were also reportedly detained. Age determination procedures continued to be inadequate and lengthy.
Appeal procedures to challenge the length and legitimacy of detention and to challenge decisions to reject asylum claims did not meet international human rights standards. Migrants remained exposed to the risk of arbitrary detention.
Conditions in detention centres remained poor and were exacerbated by overcrowding, with hundreds experiencing lack of privacy, insufficient access to sanitary and washing facilities, and poor recreation and leisure facilities. There were consistent and credible reports that being detained in such conditions was adversely affecting the mental health of migrants. Conditions in open centres for refugees and migrants released from detention also remained inadequate.
In June, the Criminal Code was amended to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of circumstances which would increase the punishment for certain crimes.
Also in June, the definition of discrimination in the Equality for Men and Women Act was extended to include discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The mandate of the national equality body, the National Commission for the Promotion of Equality, which monitors the implementation of equality legislation, was extended accordingly.Top of page