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  • Writer's pictureLuigi Sapiano

Migrants In Open Centres Not Given Fans Due To 'Security Risks'

Photo: Darrin Zammit Lupi

Migrants’ rooms at open centres are not fitted with any cooling unit, nor are fans given to individuals due to ‘security risks'.

As Malta’s temperatures reach record highs the basic need for cooling-off is dire, but the government has refused to supply fans after a couple of incidents in the past allegedly led to these being broken and used for other purposes.

“With reference to migrant centres, fans are provided in all common areas.” a spokesperson for the Ministry of Internal Affairs told Lovin Malta.

Migrants are allowed to buy fans for their rooms themselves, but given the circumstances arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic, many migrants are out of work and cannot afford to purchase them.

Even then, anything brought into open and detention centres “must be in line with safety protocols to avoid potential safety hazards”, meaning guards have the power to stop residents from bringing in appliances.

As a result, detainees are preferring to sleep outside on the floor rather than inside containers that resemble ‘hot ovens’ after being heated up all day by the scorching sun.

A Council of Europe report published earlier this year in March slammed the Maltese authorities for subjecting migrants to ‘unsafe, inhumane, illegal' treatment which broke international law rules.

“Certain living conditions, regimes, lack of due process safeguards, treatment of vulnerable groups and some specific COVID measures undertaken are so problematic that they may well amount to inhuman and degrading treatment contrary to Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.” the report reads.

Treatment of migrants in centres around Malta has been the subject of controversy for years, but with journalists being repeatedly denied access to detention centres, a blackout of information continues to subsist.

Do you think migrant cabins should be supplied with fans?

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