NGO proposes bill to declassify as 'safe' countries that criminalise LGBTIQ+ people

Aditus foundation presents the #Safe4All legal initiative to amend Malta's asylum legislation and protect LGBTIQ+ refugees

#Safe4All proposes the amendment of the list of 'safe' countries in Malta's asylum legislation (Photo: aditus foundation)
#Safe4All proposes the amendment of the list of 'safe' countries in Malta's asylum legislation (Photo: aditus foundation)

Aditus foundation, the humanitarian NGO, proposed a bill to amend Malta’s asylum legislation to declassify as “safe” the countries that criminalise LBGTIQ+ identities or behaviour.

The #Safe4All legal initiative was launched on the occasion of Malta Pride 2022 and in the run-up to Euro Pride Valletta 2023.

The document which was presented to Parliamentary Secretary for Reforms and Equality, Rebecca Buttigieg, proposes that Algeria, Bangladesh, Benin, Botswana, Chile, Egypt, Ghana, Jamaica, Morocco, Senegal and Tunisia are removed from the list of “safe” countries under Malta's asylum legislation.

Aditus explained that refugees that originate from such countries are rushed through the asylum process and denied basic guarantees, like the possibility of appealing a negative decision.

“Malta has declared a number of countries where LGBTIQ+ persons face criminal punishment, simply for living their identities, as being ‘safe’ countries,” the NGO said.

It stated that Malta was endorsing state persecution of LGBTIQ+ refugees by choosing to ignore the insitutionalised “discrimination, imprisonment and forced labour”.

Aditus added that some of the mentioned countries also penalise NGOs and activists, with volunteers facing daily threats of arrest and imprisonment.

“If Malta wants to be a global beacon for LGBTIQ+ rights, including whilst hosting Euro Pride 2023, it cannot continue ignoring the plight of LGBTIQ+ refugees reaching its shores. Malta must be #Safe4All.”

The NGO mentioned that its lawyers are currently assisting a gay man originating from a “safe” country who claimed asylum in Malta. It said that the man was raped in his country and on his way to Malta, but he was ordered to leave Malta and return back home, with his claim labelled “manifestly unfounded”.