- The trauma that these children must be suffering because of these circumstances might well be irreversible, knowing well-enough that stability, structure and permanence are fundamental ingredients in the wellbeing of children.
- No known assessment has been carried out of the countries of return and the situation that the children will find themselves in had they to return to their towns and villages of origin. This could lead to children being sent to worse conditions with potentially abusive situations that would be artificially created by a very mechanic reading of the law.
- This situation verges on discrimination and unfairness because we know well-enough that a significant number of parents/guardians of (Maltese) children do not make the salary benchmark being imposed on these children and their families.
- It is not right that we seek migrant workers to occupy the lower paid positions to ensure our thriving economy but then deprive them the right to establish their lives and their families in Malta. Let’s face it, this economic miracle we are living would not be possible were it not for the hard and underappreciated work that third country nationals have carried out in the sectors of construction, hospitality, agriculture and health to name but a few. It is truly a cynical state that would use the hard work of these migrants without allowing them the basic right to a family as enshrined in Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
- We must heal from the malaise of measuring social yardsticks solely by economic measures. Social and familial wellbeing do not depend only on financial prowess.
- As the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child which Malta has ratified and which we hold to dearly should become part of domestic legislations, states very clearly, the voice of the children is imperative in this matter and short of that we are missing one of the most fundamental principles that is, listening to what the children have to say about this matter.
- I can identify over 20 Articles in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (unicef.org/) that indicate a breach of some sorts in this matter but one article that stands out is Article 9 which emphasises that families should remain together. Hence assuming parents are in Malta legally and/or as a result of a humanitarian decision should entail that children are never to be separated from their parents.
If the laws of a country protect children’s rights better than this Convention, then those laws should be used.
University of Malta