The “socialists” who attack the weak
In its description of itself, the Party of European Socialists (of which the Labor Party of Malta is a member) makes extensive reference to the principles of freedom, equality, solidarity, diversity and fairness.
In addition, it claims that its members “fight” for social justice, human rights, the rule of law and a migration policy that seeks to create a more democratic Europe.
All over Europe, political parties that claim socialist or social democratic values emphasize social and economic equality, diversity, the focus on the weak and vulnerable and on basic human needs.
Judging from its latest migration initiatives, one would be forgiven to think that the Maltese Labor Party has completely abandoned all these values and instead opted for a right-wing populist strategy devoid of all humanity.
Last month, the Home Office, National Security and Law Enforcement Department changed Malta’s policy on how asylum seekers or those whose asylum claims have been rejected can or cannot work legally.
If the minister considers certain countries to be “safe” in terms of human rights (a highly questionable exercise open to abuse), migrants from these countries will be denied the right to work for nine months once in Malta.
Without explanation, this decision effectively deprives hundreds of individuals and families of the opportunity to generate the income necessary to ensure a basic standard of living without having to depend on charity and handouts.
As the Maltese Refugee Council and 28 NGOs have pointed out, this change in government strategy increases the vulnerability of people already at risk for no identifiable reason other than to punish them for seeking protection and a better life in Malta.
Those who are already subject to frequent exploitation, especially having to work for a salary well below the minimum wage, will be forced to integrate further into the underground economy to access their most basic needs, including food, housing, clothing, education and health.
Adding insult to injury, this latest ruling fails to describe the forms of support Malta will provide to those affected, thereby increasing the likelihood of further poverty and marginalization. It also risks forcing people to engage in irregular or criminal activities, further fueling stereotypes and prejudices.
If these changes in strategy were introduced by a right-wing populist regime devoid of any concern for democratic principles, it might be understandable but also unforgivable.
When introduced cavalierly carelessly by a government claiming to be “socialist” (even if defined in its softest form), it is reprehensible and will be devastating to those affected.
Instead of developing a coherent and realistic migration policy for Malta in the context of pressure on the EU to meet its obligations, the government has once again opted for an ad hoc measure designed to appeal to prejudices of the public and persistent discrimination.
While such an approach may increase the Labor Party’s electoral chances in the months to come, it is a direct and inhumane attack on weak individuals and families, designed to make the government appear strong.
The new policy comes in the wake of increased inhumanity perpetrated by the deplorable conditions in which asylum seekers are held in Malta detention centers, as the United Nations Human Rights Office recently documented. United.
In the name of short term political advantage, the government is prepared to harm the medium and long term interests of the country.
Not only does he mock the government’s claims on equality and inclusion, but he puts party interests above all else.
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