UNHCR welcomes the publication of the inquiry report regarding the tragic death of Mamadou Kamara in 2012, who had arrived in Malta as an asylum seeker and died while in custody of Detention Service officers.
The inquiry report identifies a number of problems and shortcomings and presents concrete recommendations on how to address them and ensure accountability and clarity of roles. Several points in the report reflect serious concerns raised by UNHCR and other organisations on the use of detention in Malta.
“UNHCR agrees with the main conclusion of the inquiry which identifies the need to review the detention system”, Jon Hoisaeter, UNHCR Representative in Malta said.
UNHCR notes that steps have been taken to create better conditions, and appreciates that the authorities are currently undertaking a review of the reception system in Malta.
However, UNHCR considers that several problems identified still need to be addressed in order to establish an appropriate system and ensure effective follow up to the inquiry. This includes the continued use of the two warehouses at Safi Barracks, which can detain up to several hundred individuals, and the lack of capacity to provide psychosocial support.
UNHCR will continue to engage with the Maltese authorities to improve the reception system in Malta, with the aim of safeguarding the rights of asylum seekers. An improved system will also enable the responsible Government entities to effectively manage the arrival of refugees and migrants in Malta.