Residents in the open centres need to be safe – UNHCR

first_img SharePrint <a href=’;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a> The Refugee Agency UNHCR is appealing to the Maltese authorities to ensure that open centres and their surroundings are safe.In a statement, UNHCR Malta says that the residents of the centres have fled and endured abuses in their home countries which mean they ‘deserve to live in peace and safety without fear of violence.’Their announcement comes after a 42 year old Ivorian national Lassibe Souleymane was tragically shot and killed after a hit-and-run attack on Saturday evening outside the open centre in Ħal Far. Two fellow Ghanians were also injured in the attack but their injuries were not life threatening.UNHCR Malta extends its condolences to the family and friends of Mr Souleymane and the recovery of the other two victims. ‘UNHCR understands that the authorities are investigating the case and hope that the perpetrators are brought to justice.’MotivesA motive for the attacks has not yet been established however according to residents of the centre, there are reports of racial abuse against migrants walking along the road in question. Some have even stopped using it altogether.These have ranged from racial insults to rocks being thrown and even drivers deliberately swerving to knock down migrants.Fear, insecurity and isolationThe Refugee Agency’s comments come following a joint statement from 23 Maltese NGOs, in solidarity with Mr Souleymane and that the police find the perpetrators.The statement, explains that the incident has wider ramifications for the migrant community in Malta, ‘creating a sense of fear, lack of security and isolation.’They state that should it be found that the incident was ‘racially motivated’, they warn that it would have far reaching consequences for Malta’s image, demonstrating a crime ‘aimed at instilling terror in entire communities.’Collectively, they call on the Malta Police Force to ‘step up’ their efforts to find those responsible and bring those to justice, while also ensuring the migrant community is protected.‘We expect the Malta Police Force to step up: commit all necessary resources to bring the perpetrators to justice; ensure the survivors are treated as victims of crime and guaranteed all the support and protection they need. Importantly we underline the need to comfort and express solidarity with all residents of Ħal Far, assuring that all will be done to restore good order and security for the locality’s communities.’The NGOs who are signatories to the letter are; Aditus foundation, African Media Association Malta, Allied Rainbow Communities, Blue Door English, The Critical Institute, Department for Inclusion and Access to Learning – University of Malta, Foundation for Shelter and Support to Migrants, Integra Foundation, International Association for Refugees, Isles of the Left, Jesuit Refugee Service (Malta), LGBTI Plus Gozo, Malta Emigrants’ Commission, Malta Humanist Association, Malta LGBTIQ Rights Movement, Men Against Violence, Moviment Graffitti, National Foster Care Association Malta, Richmond Foundation, Solidarity with Migrants, Spark15, Victim Support Malta, and the Women’s Rights Foundation.WhatsApplast_img

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