26 February 2015

The new AIDA update on Malta draws attention to changes emerging in the practice of detaining migrants, with frequent reviews provided for by law since January 2014. In further steps to transpose the EU Returns Directive, the law now requires that detention be reviewed at reasonable intervals, which should not exceed three months. According to the new AIDA report, although it is not yet possible to identify a clear practice, a number of reviews were indeed conducted in the second half of 2014 and in most cases the person was released. Both migrants awaiting removal from Malta and people waiting for a final decision on their asylum claim had their detention reviewed. The outcome of the review appears to be mostly based on an assessment of how likely the prospect of a successful removal is.

The report, written by aditus foundation and the Jesuit Refugee Service Malta, also notes a rise in the number of Libyan asylum seekers towards the end of 2014. While in 2013, 100 Libyan nationals applied for asylum in Malta, 345 sought protection from January to November 2014. This is likely due to renewed fighting in the country. Malta’s Office of the Refugee Commissioner has been granting, as a minimum, Temporary Humanitarian Protection to all Libyan asylum seekers. Refugee status has also been granted in some cases.

The Asylum Information Database (AIDA) is an ECRE project mapping asylum procedures, reception conditions and detention in Europe. The database covers 16 EU countries, and will soon be enlarged to include Switzerland and Turkey.


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