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Impassioned call for national burden sharing of migrants

Busuttil against moving Marsa Open Centre residents

Marsa Open Centre. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Marsa Open Centre. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Simon Busuttil yesterday called for national burden sharing, dismissing the proposal to close the Marsa open centre and move migrants to Ħal Far.

“The European Court last week gave credence to arguments made by Malta and other European countries when it refused Slovakia and Hungary’s case against solidarity. However, are we embracing the concept of solidarity in Malta?” he said.

“The people of Marsa have been suffering for years. We are no longer in a crisis situation, receiving one boat after another, so there should be burden sharing within Malta itself.”

Moving the Marsa open centre to Ħal Far was no solution, he added.

We are no longer in a crisis situation, receiving one boat after another, so there should be burden sharing within Malta itself

Dr Busuttil’s comments follow an appeal by migrant-led NGOs and councils for urgent action to address issues fuelling tension and concern among the residents in localities hosting migrant open centres.

The Times of Malta reported last week that the government planned to close the Marsa open centre and transfer its 160 residents to Ħal Far. However, the plan was put on hold in the wake of complaints by Birżebbuġa residents.

Dr Busuttil, the outgoing PN leader, was addressing the National Youth Parliament, which offered the opportunity to young people aged 19 to 35 to debate issues of sexual health, Gozo and migration.

The government planned to close the centre and transfer its 160 residents to Ħal Far. However, the plan was put on hold in the wake of complaints by Birżebbuġa residents

Organised by the National Youth Council, the full mock parliamentary session followed a similar exercise earlier in the day when 13- to-18-year-olds discussed culture, work and climate change.

Six resolutions containing proposals will be forwarded to President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and the new leader of the Opposition.

A resolution on migration and humanitarian protection was also approved.

Among other particulars, it suggested that children born in Malta to migrant or refugee parents should be given Maltese residency and that minors be granted access to education while their residency application is being processed.

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