refugee policy

Maltese Deportations are "Shocking"

This country’s deportation of child refugees to Malta has aroused substantial criticism from organizations like Save the Children and the Red Cross, which accuse the Migration Board of sending back refugees to dangerous, unhealthy conditions in the little island nation. Joseph Cassar, a Jesuit priest based in the Maltese city of Valletta, calls the government’s actions “shocking.”

“To be honest, it is beyond me,” he told Swedish Radio News. “I fail to understand how such a large and enormous country can possibly return people to Malta, which is so small, so overpopulated.”

Cassar is head of Jesuit Refugee Help, an organization that helps the steadily increasing stream of refugees deported to Malta. Sweden deports children arriving alone as asylum seekers to the refugee camps there, where many are locked up for upwards of a year.

Cassar says that there are no separate facilities for children. “They are kept with the others, so they are there with the adults, and they have the same conditions as the adults,” he said.

The priest says that he is surprised that Sweden sends people there at all, as the Maltese justice minister has said that the refugee camps are meant to act as “a deterrent.”

“I’m shocked even when Sweden sends back adults,” Cassar finished.