A “march against lawlessness” is scheduled on Sunday 17th September. Residents of Marsa have complained about the presence of African immigrants in the area. The Government has decided to close the Open Center for Refugees and relocate them to Hal Far. New apartments will be built on the site of the actual Marsa Center and the renovate area is hoped to regain a new glory.
Marsa has always been a controversial area. Before The opening of the center for Refugees 15 years ago, many residents remember it as a place for maltese prostitutes. In those days, people with “good morality” would avoid to be spotted there after sunset.
Hopefully, with the prospect of a brand new quater, the old sins will be washed.
The office of the President has issued a Press release this morning, raising concern about the anti-immigrant spirit.
A group of African NGOs has also released a statement to appeal against lawlessness in Malta. The text can be found on th bottom of this page.
PRESS RELEASE BY THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
President of Malta, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, together with the President of the Local Councils Association, Mr Mario Fava, convened a meeting, with various local councils, namely; Marsa, Ħamrun, Floriana, Pietà, Gżira, Paola and Birżebbuġa and representatives from migrant communities forming part of the Migrant-led NGO Platform within the President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society.
Those present discussed the tensions and concerns which prompted the organization of a march against lawlessness in Marsa, currently scheduled to take place this Sunday 17th September. The meeting provided an opportunity to share many common challenges faced by the residents in specific Maltese localities, while the representatives of the Migrant-Led NGOs shared experiences of discrimination and abuse suffered by refugees and migrants, who as a consequence face poverty and social exclusion.
From the outset, the Migrant-Led NGOs stated that they are against all sorts of lawlessness and appealed to all migrants and refugees to observe the laws and regulations of Malta.
Substandard housing, unaffordable rent prices, substance abuse, labour exploitation, mental illness, racism, and a sense of uncertainty, hopelessness, and lack of opportunity were identified as factors contributing to social deprivation in these areas, in particular. All those present agreed that this situation is untenable, and requires immediate intervention and enforcement of the law in several areas. These include maintaining order in the community, upholding the law regarding non discrimination and fair employment, and introducing regulation of an abusive rental market.
All parties present commended this first initiative, and committed to working together to maintain ongoing dialogue and develop positive relationships. They expressed a sense of solidarity and pledged to work towards more peaceful and inclusive communities throughout the Maltese islands.
Copy of the original here
Press release from the Somali Community, Sudanese Community and the Eritrean Community 08/09/2017
We, the African refugee and migrant communities appreciate the refuge and welcome the Maltese Government has given us. Â We are aware of some problems happening in Marsa and as African refugees and migrants we do not support those who get drunk in public places or do other violations. We respect very much the Maltese law and order and the Maltese residents in Marsa.
The persons breaking the law in Marsa do not represent the entire refugee community. We are against any kind of crime, whether committed by Maltese or Africans. The fact that some persons are breaking the law and causing problems does not mean that all refugees and migrants will behave in that way.
We consider Marsa as our meeting point, especially since in other social places we are not accepted. The general situation in Marsa is a result of years of neglect, even before the Marsa open centre was set up there by the authorities. The behaviour of some migrants is also due to the lack of an effective integration policy where the most vulnerable are left on their own.
As the African refugee and migrant communities we are ready to sit down and have constructive discussions with the Government and the Maltese in order to find a solution and improve dialogue.
There should be:
- Support to both the Maltese and African communities by creating meeting centres to socialise;
- Collaboration with service providers who support those who need help, such as those with Â mental health problems and those in need of social support;
- Provision of a training centre where migrants receive compulsory training;
- An integration policy in place, with structured support.
Sudanese Community 99623886 or 77287645
Eritrean Community 99039405
Somali Community 99689370