A group of academic members of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Malta has “strongly condemned” last week’s Government threat to send back Somali immigrants to Libya.
A similar statement was issued by a group of artists and designers.
The 37 academics said they believed policies and negotiations ought to uphold human life and well-being at all times, irrespective of the cost in terms of resources and political commitment.
“We also think that there is no room whatsoever for heavy-handedness where weak and vulnerable people – irrespective of their nationality or colour – are concerned,” a statement by the academics said.
The statement added: “We find ourselves very concerned indeed about the popular feelings of bad blood and xenophobia stirred by the political rhetoric of crisis and invasion.”
The statement was signed by: Maria Attard (Geography); Rev. John Avellino (Philosophy); Prof. Albert Borg (Maltese); Prof. Charles Briffa (Translation and Interpreting Studies); Michael Briguglio (Sociology) Prof. Mario Buhagiar (History of Art); Prof. Ivan Callus (English); Valentina Cassar (International Relations); Prof. Arnold Cassola (Maltese) James Corby (English); Prof. Mark-Anthony Falzon (Sociology) Giuliana Fenech (English);
Prof. Anthony Frendo (Oriental Studies); Maria Frendo (English); Prof. Joe Friggieri (Philosophy and Pro-Rector); Anna Khakee (International Relations); Arndt Kremer (German); Gillian Martin (Sociology); Simon Mercieca (History); Bernard Micallef (Maltese); Prof. Joe Pace Asciak (Italian); Vincent Riolo (Philosophy); Prof. Paul Sant Cassia (Anthropology); Kathrin Schödel (German); Rev. Mark Sultana (Philosophy)
Prof. Joseph Troisi (Sociology and Social Gerontology); Prof. Carmel Vassallo (Hispanic Studies); Clare Vassallo (Translation and Interpreting Studies); Nicholas Vella (Archaeology); Olvin Vella (Maltese); Michael Zammit (Philosophy) Ranier Fsadni (Anthropology); Katrin Dautel (German); Gabrielle Torpiano (Translation and Interpreting Studies); Prof. Gloria Lauri-Lucente (Italian); Prof. Manwel Mifsud (Maltese); Prof. Anthony Aquilina (Translation and Interpreting Studies).
ARTISTS, DESIGN PRACTITIONERS AGAINST PUSHBACKS
a group of artists and design practitioners also said they were seriously concerned about advocating a pushback policy to deal with the influx of irregular migrants in Malta.
"In line with the reservations expressed by the NCPE, Aditus and Integra Foundations and a number of other Maltese NGOs, authors and academics, we firmly believe that any decisions taken to tackle the issue of irregular migration should not include any push back measures. We join in expressing our firm disapproval of considering similar policies that would place the migrants’ life at risk."
They said that sensitive action must ensure that asylum seekers are granted the international right to present their cases.
"Malta should stand strong with unwavering commitment to respect and uphold fundamental rights and intrinsic human dignity of every individual, irrespective of national origin, creed or ethnicity. Just as the Maltese government has been a promoter of positive changes in matters relating to other grounds of discrimination, such as sexual orientation and gender identity, its policies in relation to migration should be equally sensitive. Human rights are universal and indivisible."
They however backed government efforts to get EU involvement in the issue.
The statement was signed by
Adrian Abela Aldo Gatt a.k.a. Gattaldo, Alexandra Aquilina, Allen Venables, Andrea Pullicino. Anthony Galea. Austin Camilleri. Ben Borg Cardona, Brian Grech, Carlo Muscat, Celia Borg Cardon.a Christian de Souza
Jensen Christine Xuereb, Conrad Dimech, Daniel Borg, Daniel Cilia, Darrin Zammit Lupi, Debbie Caruana Dingli, Derek Fenech, Ed Dingli, Ewelina Lason, Francesca Balzan, James Vella Clark,
Juniper Francalanza, Kamy Aquilina, Kris Micallef, Malcolm Bonello, Malcolm Sammut, Marco Brown, Mark Casha, Martin Buhagiar, Michael Azzopardi, Nadine Noko, Nel Pace. Nigel Anastasi, Pawlu Mizzi, Priscilla Griscti, Richard Saliba, Ritianne Muscat, Sef Farrugia, Sergio Miscat, Shaun Grech, Therese Debono, Tonio Lombardi, Tonio Mallia, Vince Briffa and Zvezdan Reljic.