Refugee week kicks off to honour refugees at time when dialogue between government, refugee-led groups ‘closed’

Week-long festival aimed at ‘inspiring a culture of care’ through community events


A range of activities will be taking place around the island this week for refugee day – a prolonged celebration of the allocated day, 20 June, that is designed to honour refugees worldwide.

This comes at a time when protection for refugees is the most challenging, according to leading local human rights and migration-focused NGOs.

In a statement issued on Monday by the Malta Refugee Council and NGOs including aditus, SOS Malta, Jesuit Refugee Service Malta and Sudanese Community Malta, the organisations said that Malta offers an “extremely hostile environment” to refugees.

“The government refuses to explain why they are abandoned out at sea, either not rescued or not allowed to safely disembark. Hundreds are detained in squalid conditions and on dubious legal grounds in what international human rights bodies described as ‘institutional mass neglect’.”

They also raised concerns about new detention rules that dramatically limit the possibility for information, communication and support and suitable care for vulnerable asylum seekers.

“Dialogue between the government and civil society, including refugee-led groups, has been effectively closed. Never before has refugee protection been so challenging,” the groups warned.

“Whether fleeing the war in Ukraine, discriminatory laws in Nigeria or ethnic conflict in South Sudan, all refugees share the same need for safety, protection and dignity.”

Refugee Week 2022 Programme to ‘inspire culture of care’

For the first time, a prolonged celebration of Refugee Week will be held throughout Malta this week, with a variety of events being organised by NGO Dance Beyond Borders.

The aim of the festival is to “amplify voices, celebrate the contributions and inspire a culture of care for people seeking sanctuary through artistic and community events.”

A march for peace will be held on 20 June at 7pm at St. George’s Square, Valletta. This day will coincide with the launch of a photography exhibition titled ‘Forgotten’ by artist Karrar Al-Azzawi, which will run till 25 June at Splendid, and an art exhibition ‘Finding My Place’ at Quicklets in Sliema, on till 24 June.

Film screenings focused on the topic of migration will be held at Spazju Kreattiv on 21 and 22 June and a screen dance by Mohamed Ali (Dali) Aguerbi titled ‘Don’t Forget Me’ will be shown between 22 and 25 June at The Mill in Birkirkara.

The celebrations will close with a Live Music Night called ‘Afro Universal’ on 25 June at Balzunetta in Floriana.

You can follow the events here.


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