The Malta Independent 25 April 2019, Thursday

Government MPs sign anti-racism pledge; PN appeals to PM

Malta Independent Wednesday, 17 July 2013, 17:36 Last update: about 6 years ago

A “Pledge for Dignity and Against Racism” put forward by the People for Change Foundation has been signed by government MPs, the Civil Liberties Ministry announced.

The pledge was signed by 34 of the Labour Party’s 39 MPs: the other five could not sign the pledge as they were abroad.

According to the pledge, the signatories recognise the critical role played by political leaders in informing and shaping the national debate concerning immigration and integration, and acknowledge “the impact of social and political discourse on migration on the wellbeing and integration of ethnic and religious minorities in Malta.”

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat – one of the signatories – has come under fire for his controversial comments on the arrival of asylum seekers, which he said was aimed at making Europe “wake up” and take action.

The signatories express themselves “concerned by the intensified xenophobic and racist messages being noted recently in public discourse including on the internet.”

The pledge also asks signatories to make five commitments, including sending a consistent message that they rejected racism in all of its guises, and dealing responsibly and fairly with sensitive topics related to migrant groups and ethnic minorities, including asylum seekers and refugees.

The MPs pledged “to adopt appropriate, accurate and sensitive language,” on migration and immigrants to avoid fuelling “xenophobia, unfounded fear, crisis and moral panic,” as well as condemn and stop, where possible, any materials or statements which incited hatred or expressed prejudice.

The People for Change Foundation is a human rights think tank, and is one of the NGOs that helped block the government’s plans to push back a group of Somali nationals to Libya on arrival by obtaining an injunction from the European Court of Human Rights.

In turn, the Nationalist Party parliamentary group confirmed its condemnation against all forms of racism and xenophobia.

In a statement, it said it understood that irregular migration was a great challenge for Malta and other European countries, in particular those in the Mediterranean basin.

Solutions can be found if the nation made one united front based on fundamental values. The government, the PN said, had weakened Malta’s position with the stands it had taken.

The group appealed to Prime Minister Joseph Muscat to weigh his words when he deals with the issue.

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