venerdì 13 maggio 2011

Report the situation of refugees in Malta

Since May 5, 2011 until May 9, 2011 I visited the Eritrean and Ethiopian refugees have arrived in Malta in the past two months, from Libya.
The first thing I noticed is that people have been traumatized, for all they have suffered in Libya and spent at sea, but also for the experience on the island, in fact after the insult to injury: these people arrived in Malta have been imprisoned in prison without any guilt. The impact of the prisons Maltese is very strong: the refugees arrive, hoping to find protection instead be punished by imprisonment for weeks or months.The Maltese authorities hold all the refugees in prison, without any distinction: even pregnant women, women with children ... ect Often for days they do not see the light of the sun, children are denied the chance to play outside, take a can of sun. Even women who have just given birth have been reported inside the prison with the baby. E 'inhumane treatment. I do not understand! because the European Court does not intervene to put an end to the violence exercised on the poor people free? By what law is Malta the refugees in this way? I have not been possible to visit inside the prison because it is not allowed and these people are treated worse than criminals can not receive visits, have no air time as a prisoner, only in the case of visits by delegations licensed by the government, are allowed to leave in order to make it look like their imprisonment and human dignity. When the refugees leave the facility, prison authorities are advised not to report to anyone what they have suffered.

Speaking with the refugees who are in Malta for some years, I have become aware of many forms of discrimination that are forced to live for example in the workplace, where the pay for equal work is lower than that of the Maltese are not guaranteed trade union rights, the dole is not for them, while paying taxes as citizens of Malta. The Maltese population is highly uninformed on immigration, often politicians are anti-immigrant propaganda, especially against African Blacks. There is no integration project: the Maltese society is deeply distrustful of immigrants landing on its shores.

The second issue is that the Maltese government is not giving a 'welcome to the decent people, I visited several places where I've placed the refugees accommodated in tents, isolated places outside the residential area where you can not find anything in degraded condition in the middle of rats and dirt. I visited families with small children placed inside a hangar, where the floor is covered with grease machines, children play ground, they get sick and almost all have the same symptoms: eyestrain, vomiting and intestinal problems.So who should protect these people really are putting their health at risk. There are women who are forced to sleep in containers no security for their safety, to the point, they told me that they have risked rapes by drunken men who wander in the tent city: the life of these women is jeopardized by those who would provide protection.

The Maltese government has also been found eligible for refugee a former school was closed because it was considered unhealthy (and thus not suitable!) For boys malatesi; close to it, in fact, pass a stinking canal where it is unloaded everything. This demonstrates that there is racism at the institutional level.

The health service does not guarantee the right to health: there is a serious shortage of information on the health of the patient, who went to the doctor is not informed about their health. All this is against the right to health of the person. Moreover, there is no type of psychological assistance for people who have suffered trauma and violence.

We need a strong commitment of the entire international community to re set up, in countries where they can find the international protection and a 'decent reception, the refugees who are now in tents or in the container under the hot sun. This is especially difficult because no one wants them on its territory. We must especially urge the governments of USA, Canada and Australia because they offer the possibility of re settlement in their territories.
I ask the EU to take a clear and strong position to end the unlawful detention of refugees and the condition of total deprivation which are left to live.

I have met during my stay in Malta, the different agencies working for refugees: JRS, UNHCR, Malta Emigrants Commission. Organizations are involved at various levels to support the refugees, I present my interpretation of things: I have been assured that they will work to improve the current conditions, where you can collaborate with them.
Fr. Mussie Zerai

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