Back Council of Europe anti-torture Committee undertakes rapid reaction visit to Malta to examine treatment of migrants

The Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) has just completed a six-day rapid reaction visit to Malta to examine the treatment of detained migrants. The visit took place from 17 to 22 September 2020.
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Council of Europe anti-torture Committee undertakes rapid reaction visit to Malta to examine treatment of migrants

During the visit, the CPT’s delegation examined the conditions of detention for, and treatment of, migrants deprived of their liberty, including families with young children and unaccompanied and separated minors. It visited various places where migrants are being held, notably the detention and reception centres, as well as two police stations.

In the course of the visit, the delegation had meetings with senior officials from the Ministry for Home Affairs, National Security and Law Enforcement, including the Permanent Secretary, Mr Kevin Mahoney. In addition, the delegation met with senior representatives from Malta’s Police Force (Immigration Police, Criminal Investigation Department and Custody), the Armed Forces of Malta, the Detention Service and the Agency for the Welfare of Asylum Seekers (AWAS). It also had discussions with officials from the Ministry for Health and senior doctors responsible for Malta’s public health strategy and, notably, its Covid prevention strategy.

Further, the CPT’s delegation had discussions with Magistrate Dr. M. A. Farrugia, the CEO of Malta’s International Protection Agency, Dr. Roberta Buhagiar, the Commissioner for Children’s Rights, Ms Pauline Miceli and members of the Monitoring Board for Detained Persons, as well as with the UNHCR Representative in Malta, Ms Samar Mazloum and with NGOs active in the areas of the CPT’s mandate.

At the end of the visit, the delegation’s preliminary findings were presented to the Maltese authorities, along with some observations for immediate action. A full report on the visit will be transmitted to the Maltese authorities in due course. The CPT will continue to engage constructively with the Maltese authorities to ensure that all persons deprived of their liberty are treated in accordance with the CPT’s minimum standards, including as regards material conditions of detention and fundamental safeguards against ill-treatment.

The visit was carried out by Alan Mitchell, Head of delegation, Jari Pirjola and Răzvan Horaţiu Radu. They were supported by Francesca Gordon of the CPT’s Secretariat and assisted by Ivona Todorovska, migration expert.

Establishments visited
  • Marsa Initial Reception Centre
  • Hermes Block, Lyster Barracks
  • Hal Far Reception Centre / “China House”
  • Safi Detention Centre
  • Floriana Police Station and Lock-Up
  • Zejtun Police Station