Submission to the United Nations Human Rights Committee on Malta

New submission on Malta violations

The Border Violence Monitoring Network, together with Sea-Watch, has submitted a joint report to the United Nations Human Rights Committee regarding Maltas continued violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The report concludes that despite ratifying the ICCPR, the continued illegal pushback of refugees and migrants carried out by Maltese authorities or third parties contracted by the Maltese government is in contradiction to the obligations set out under international law.

Furthermore, we also assert that the continued cooperation between the Maltese government and the so-called Libyan coastguard, whereby the Libyan authorities are assisted in intercepting migrant boats from the Maltese Search-and-Rescue zone to forcibly return them to war-torn Libya, is a clear breach Maltas responsibilities under Article 6 and Article 7 of the ICCPR.

Recommendations

Drawing upon evidence collected by Sea-Watch, Watch The Med – Alarm Phone and other international organisations, we are inviting the United Nations to establish:

● If Libya is considered a ‘safe’ destination of return by the Maltese authorities.
● If the Maltese government has taken any steps to implement a full, effective and independent investigation into the allegations of refoulement, collective expulsions or illegal pushbacks.
● How the Maltese State protects the rights of all persons who enter the Maltese Search-and-Rescue zone.

Furthermore, we invite the United Nations Human Rights Committee to ask the Maltese government to clarify:

● The events of the alleged pushback and illicit return of 63 migrants from the Maltese Search-and-Rescue zone on April 12th, 2020 by boats allegedly commissioned by the Maltese government.
● The events of the alleged pushback and illicit return of 17 and 70 migrants from the Maltese Search-and-Rescue zone on January 30th, 2020 and on July 24th, 2020 by the so-called Libyan coastguard, specifically outlining to what extent was the Maltese State was involved in the coordination or facilitation of their return.
● The events of the alleged direct coordination between a Maltese aircraft and the so-called Libyan coastguard on July 14th, 2020, detailing to what extent does the Maltese government help facilitate the interception and return of migrants and migrant boats to Libya.

To find out more, download the full report here: Submission to the United Nations Human Rights Committee on Malta Violations