Malta is on the frontline of Europe’s asylum struggle. The island located in the middle of the Mediterranean receives the highest number of asylum seekers per inhabitant of all European countries. While new arrivals are detained in closed centres, Malta looks at the EU for support.
The radio report below was broadcasted on Deutsche Welle’s flagship programme on EU affairs Inside Europe. It shows the dreary conditions in which asylum seekers are detained in closed centres, having no personal space and biding their time waiting for the verdict on their application.
Some stay in the centres up to 18 months – a policy that has been criticised by ngo’s and the UN and has been condemned by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
Meanwhile, the EU is developing a Common European Asylum System (CEAS), due at the end of 2012. What impact will this new system have on the human rights conditions at Europe’s borders?
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A full report of my visit to Malta, the closed detention centres and the Maltese government’s and international organisations’ offices in Valletta will be published in the Belgian magazine MO* in September.
It will look at the new CEAS in detail, uncovering the weaknesses of the politically sensitive asylum debate at European level.
Watch this space for the full story!