Eritrean community seeks reunification of families, resettlement or integration
Migrants from 'Africa's North Korea' say they have been left in limbo
Eritrean migrants in Malta have pleaded to the government not to leave them 'in limbo' but to help them achieve resettlement, family reunification or integration.
The Eritrean Migrant Community Association in Malta, which is in the process of being registered as an NGO, said it has had meetings with government representatives, NGOs, migrant communities, and other stakeholders to discuss the integration policy that was announced in mid-December.
"We are grateful for this opportunity, because remaining open to such discussions
can have a tremendously positive impact on the collective efforts that are being mobilised in order all involved parties get a desirable outcome."
The association said the migrant community from “Africa’s North Korea” was grateful to the government and Maltese society for showing compassion and supporting them.
"Our migrant journeys were the last resort in our pursuit of liberty and freedom, and in too many cases, life itself. We fled our home country - one way or another, - under the most dangerous conditions. We left our beloved families behind, torn apart, while our dreams were vanquished to oblivion. We set out on perilous and long journeys to Malta, with a one-way ticket out of our home country, which has been under barbaric, inhumane, dictatorial, and totalitarian control for nearly three decades.
Our migrant journeys were the last resort in our pursuit of liberty
"In Malta, we have been given a new life opportunity, but not without compromise. Most of us have been granted subsidiary protection which we believe falls short of addressing our desperate and unsettled situation, such as not being permitted to have our beloved family members (spouses, children) with us. Family unity is a fundamental right and an entitlement recognised in various international treaties, starting with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
"Such entitlement would allow us to better integrate in Malta with our beloved ones, and be able to settle and contribute to the Maltese society as active members. This will lead to feelings of security, clarity, and a sense of
The association noted that to find a permanent solution, the Maltese government has been working very hard together with other stakeholders, such as UNHCR and other governments – the US in particular - in an effort to give beneficiaries of international protection an opportunity to be resettled permanently, to finally reunite with their family members, and to build a life with new hope and dreams.
But it noted that according to the Maltese Refugee Act, migrants with subsidiary protection status, have no legal path to that 'fundamental entitlement of family reunification'.
The suspension of the US refugee resettlement programme, has left us in a complete state of limbo
"The suspension of the US refugee resettlement programme, has left us in a complete state of limbo and psycho-social despondency, clouding our lives and futures with uncertainty. Moreover, the Maltese government’s proposed integration policy to give migrants an opportunity to get permanent Maltese residence is so elusive, that it does not seem to adequately factor in the long years many of us have already spent in Malta trying to integrate or hoping to be resettled elsewhere," the association said.
The association said the migrant community seeking the opportunity, given to other beneficiaries of international protection and Eritreans in other countries, to
be able to live a normal and socially integrated, and stable life by being able to reunite with their loved ones. They were also seeking a clearly set time path for better documentation that will help them get integrated.
They also called for more opportunities for resettlement in countries that would grant them family unity.