Malta: Human Rights Committee and delegation of Malta clash over views on abortion

Overview 112th Session – Malta

maltaasylumsmaltadelegationdemonstrators-holding-pro-choice-and-pro-life-signs-picture

There were reoccurring issues throughout the ICCPR Malta review on two particular topics. Firstly, the illegal status of abortion coupled with Malta’s conflicting statements that they supported women’s rights to control their family planning without coercion. There was a clear divergence of views between the Committee and the authorities on the issue of abortion legislation, which the latter said they would not consider changing.

Then secondly, how Malta deals with the large influx of asylum seekers and refugees coming especially from the Horn of Africa, the conditions in migrant detention centres and the length of detention. The government delegation emphasized its efforts to decrease the length of detention periods and improve conditions for migrants. They also mentioned that Malta is providing human rights training to its police officers and they have one of the highest rates of acceptance of asylum seekers. The Committee remained sceptical as there had been conflicting reports on these issues from the Malta NGOs.

Other issues raised by the expert body included the decriminalisation of defamation, gender equality, the absence of complaints to the Committee under the First Optional Protocol, which indicates a lack of Covenant visibility in the country, corporal punishment and child trafficking in the region.

 The Concluding Observations for which the State should provide information on the implementation within one year, concerning:

  • Abortion
  • Administrative detention of migrants and asylum seekers

The review of Malta’s 2nd periodic report by the Human Rights Committee took place on the 13th and 14th of October 2014. For a comprehensive overview of the discussion, see the proceedings on the OHCHR website or the webcast of the session.

 The next periodic report should be submitted by the State party on 31st October 2020.

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