Human Rights are an essential cornerstone of democratic society. They are an integral and indispensable element of our democratic landscape. They are not disposable. We cannot do without them.
Being a savage blow struck against human rights, Joseph Muscat’s pushback of immigrants to Libya hence strikes at the very core of our democratic credentials.
During Malta’s short 50 year history as a democratic state we have had more than our fair share of political bullies who considered that human rights were shackling their political manoeuvres. We surely do not need any more.
The migration problem is certainly much greater than Malta can possibly handle on its own. Financial assistance from the EU has always been welcome but this can only be a small part of the solution. There are other essential elements which have to be tackled.
Many EU member states have been reluctant to assist in the resettlement of these refugees. The EU institutions have not been forceful enough in translating solidarity declarations into practical initiatives. Pilot projects, now discontinued, are certainly not enough.
The root causes of the displacement of hundreds of thousands must be appropriately addressed. These include political instability, dictatorial governments and Climate Change impacts. The EU, on its own as well as in conjunction with regional and global institutions could do much more than has been done to date.
On a local level we need to move on from rhetoric to practical political action to tackle this issue of national importance. There is room for close political cooperation between the three political parties. This however must be based on an unconditional respect of human rights. It is the only way to combat the spectre of racism in Malta.
Common sense, solidarity and an end to the culture of indifference should be the foundation stones of a national strategy on immigration. It is the only way forward.