Tensions In Malta
Staying well below the media radar is another European state struggling with illegal immigration. I don’t know enough about Malta or the political climate to offer any opinion, but, I will offer that there is a pattern in the non-coverage given to these problems by the western media. The issues facing the Dutch in the wake of the Van Gogh murder, “Action Sweep Out” in Germany and this incident all share a common theme. Times of Malta, Jan.19;
Malta came under intense international criticism yesterday following last week’s incidents between army personnel and illegal immigrants at the Safi Barracks.
Speaking to The Times while accompanying the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Ruud Lubbers, in talks with the European Commission in Brussels, Raymond Hall, the UNHCR’s European Bureau director, said the UN agency was “deeply concerned about the apparent use of excessive force by Maltese soldiers when breaking up a peaceful demonstration by asylum seekers and irregular immigrants last week”.
Mr Hall said the UNHCR was shocked with the incidents especially since people had to be hospitalised following a peaceful protest. In the context of what happened, the UNHCR reiterates its advice that Malta should re-examine its detention policy, which involves mandatory detention for as long as 18 months and is by far the strictest in Europe.
He said: “The UNHCR is strongly opposed to the practice of mandatory detention, whereby asylum seekers are routinely detained until such time as they are recognised as refugees”.
[…] “The UNHCR has discussed Malta’s detention policies and conditions with the authorities on a number of occasions over the past couple of years. Last June, the UNHCR submitted a detailed report to the authorities which outlined a wide range of shortcomings in the four detention centres and contained numerous recommendations for changes.
“Despite a number of official letters requesting further dialogue, the UNHCR has to date received no official written response from the Maltese authorities.”
The UNHCR spokesman said his organisation fully appreciates Malta’s concerns that, given its proximity to major smuggling routes from North Africa, it risks being overburdened with asylum seekers and irregular migrants. However, he added, the High Commission does not believe such concerns warrant detention as a deterrent.
Keeping in mind my aforementioned disclaimer, I think that a country only 8 miles wide and 15 miles long, and within rafting distance of northern Africa might be extended the benefit of the doubt for creating strong deterents to illegal immigration. [CIA Factbook: Malta]
Not that everyone is rushing to apologize;
Norman Lowell the fiery leader of the far-right Imperium Europa, said yesterday that illegal immigrants not only threatened Malta’s security, but also posed a “sanitary, cultural and genetic” threat to the country.
[…] Mr Lowell started his speech by attacking the media for being “against the army and the boys in blue”. Waving a stick in the air from time to time, he said the media were controlled by “those who know where true power lies”.
“It’s the media which control and twist public opinion,” Mr Lowell claimed, adding that the media were responsible for painting a negative picture of him. “I am a libertarian and not a Nazi or a Fascist,” he said.
Mr Lowell said Malta is the only country that still had a “homogenous” race. The rest of Europe, from Ireland to Poland, was “contaminated” and it would not be long before Europeans would want to come here to experience the “real spirituality”.
“This is why we have to annihilate the black coal,” Mr Lowell said.
A group of men, who all wore sunglasses and caps, the collars of their jackets covering their chins, clapped heartily when Mr Lowell mentioned the Brigadier of the Armed Forces. Mr Lowell said that at this point, the AFM commander should not resign “even if he had the gravest of personal problems”.
Mr Lowell said the authorities were secretly going to change the law so that illegal immigrants would have a renewable visa to stay in Malta. He attacked Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini who said recently that an immigrants’ centre should be set up in Malta. “I will find Mr Frattini in Brussels and he will have to apologise publicly,” Mr Lowell shouted.
Immigrants entering Malta on boats should be stopped 14 miles offshore and warned not to come ashore, Mr Lowell said. The upcoming conference on illegal immigration would turn out to be yet another farce, with Government and Opposition on one side and the NGOs, who “have nothing better to do”, on the other, he said.
Mr Lowell finished his speech by raising his stick in the air and crying “Ave!”