AS DELIVERED by Foreign Service Officer, Aleks Needham
The United States warmly welcomes the Maltese delegation to the UPR Working Group.
We commend Malta’s exemplary human rights record and longstanding commitment to the promotion of human rights both domestically and internationally. We applaud Malta’s recent efforts to promote and protect the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons.
While improving its efforts to address trafficking in persons, we are concerned that the Government of Malta still lacks a formal mechanism for referring victims of trafficking to appropriate services, which impairs the government’s ability to ensure that such victims, including children and Maltese adult victims, are recognized and provided care.
Malta’s detention of migrants pending determination of their status has led to the detention of young children and other vulnerable populations, albeit for brief periods. We are concerned with reports that conditions for detention of some migrants are difficult and include overcrowding, inadequate ventilation, and possible excessive use of force in response to disturbances.
Bearing in mind these concerns, we recommend that Malta:
- Strengthen efforts to proactively identify both domestic and international trafficking victims among vulnerable populations, particularly children and women in prostitution;
- Consider less restrictive alternatives to blanket detention of migrants and guarantee to all migrants the right to seek judicial review of the lawfulness of their detention and to obtain a determination without delay and release if detention is determined unlawful;
- Address concerns over detention conditions.