The new Refugee Commissioner for Malta, Mr Mario Friggieri was officially appointed. Mr Friggieri will be replacing Mr Charles Buttigieg, the first commissioner who had been appointed commissioner in 2001 after the Refugees Act was approved in 2000.
Justice and Internal Affairs Minister Tonio Borg added that an EU directive will be implemented shortly by the government that will bring about several amendments to the Refugee Act. It is expected to broaden slightly the definition of humanitarian status and allowing migrants to have their case reopened before the Refugees Commission if there are new facts.
Dr Borg praised Mr Buttigieg and thanked him for his work during the past years and said that his decisions were always very impartial and taken independently. The government had never appealed against any of his decisions, he continued to say.
Since 2002, the commission has processed 4,858 applications, of which 192 were granted refugee status, 2,200 were granted humanitarian status, 2,150 were refused and another 143 were withdrawn. There are 600 pending applications at present.
Speaking about the new commissioner Mr Friggieri, Dr Borg said that he worked very hard to help young people and students and has also extensive experience in the social sector. Mr Friggieri also works in the Social Solidarity and Family Ministry and was the person who ran the open centre in Hal Far.
Currently, there are over 2,000 people in open centres and 1,300 in detention centres.Read more about this issue in MaltaMedia’s Special Feature Lanċa Ġejja u Ohra Sejra