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""#$$ &' ()'&#"&*'+,
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Access to Protection: A Human Right
NATIONAL REPORT – MALTA



















This project is funded by the European programme for
Integration and Migration (EPIM)
Dr. Jean-Pierre Gauci
Dr Patricia Mallia

2
!"#$% %'( )*#+(,%

1he maln ob[ecLlve of Lhe pro[ecL ºAccess Lo ÞroLecLlon: a human rlghL", flnanced by Lhe neLwork
of Luropean loundaLlons ln Lhe frame of Lhe Luropean Þrogramme for lnLegraLlon and MlgraLlon
(LÞlM), ls Lo brlng naLlonal and Luropean pollcles and pracLlces ln llne wlLh Lhe obllgaLlons seL ouL
by Lhe Luropean lnsLrumenLs on Puman 8lghLs. ln parLlcular, lL focuses on Lhe access Lo Lhe
LerrlLory and Lo proLecLlon and Lhe sLandards ouLllned by Lhe Luropean CourL of Puman 8lghLs ln
Lhe !"#$" case.

1he pro[ecL ls lmplemenLed by Lhe %&'$"()"& +,-)"-'& ./# + 0"12("-," (lead parLner), Lhe Pungarlan
Pelslnkl CommlLLee (Pungary), Þro-Asyl loundaLlon (Cermany), 1he Þeople for Change loundaLlon
(MalLa), Lhe Creek Councll for 8efugees (Creece), and Lhe Spanlsh Commlsslon for 8efugee Ald -
CLA8 (Spaln) and 1he ÞorLuguese Councll for 8efugees. 1he parLnershlp has also beneflLLed from
Lhe valuable supporL of Lhe 8ureau for Lurope - ulvlslon lnLernaLlonal ÞroLecLlon of Lhe unPC8, Lhe
Commlsslon for MlgraLlon, 8efugees and ulsplaced Þersons of Lhe ÞarllamenLary Assembly of Lhe
Councll of Lurope, and Lhe lawyers of Lhe lorenslc unlon for Lhe ÞroLecLlon of Puman 8lghLs, who
flled Lhe complalnL concernlng Lhe !"#$" case before Lhe Luropean CourL of Puman 8lghLs.

1he pro[ecL alms aL aLLalnlng a ºculLural change," a shlfL from a perspecLlve LhaL focuses malnly on
securlLy and on combaLLlng lrregular lmmlgraLlon flows Lo an approach whlch balances Lhese
exlgencles wlLh respecL for human rlghLs. ln parLlcular, we hlghllghL Lhe prlnclple of non-
#/1&2)/3/', and Lhe access Lo proLecLlon, Lhrough Lhe adopLlon, lf lL ls necessary, of speclflc
amendmenLs Lo naLlonal and Luropean leglslaLlon pollcles and pracLlces. 1he pro[ecL lnLends Lo
promoLe an enhancemenL of pracLlces aL Lhe borders and more sysLemaLlc Lralnlng on human rlghLs
and refugee law, addressed Lo auLhorlLles, ln parLlcular border guards. Moreover, Lhe pro[ecL has
Lhe purpose of fosLerlng Lhe full access of Lhe unPC8 and oLher organlzaLlons Lo poLenLlal
lnLernaLlonal proLecLlon seekers.

1he pro[ecL began ln SepLember 2012 and wlll end ln lebruary 2014. 1o daLe, Lhe pro[ecL parLners
have engaged ln desk-research, legal analysls, as well as dlscusslons wlLh relevanL sLakeholders.


3
!"#$%&'(# *%++,-.

1hls reporL presenLs Lhe flnal resulLs of Lhe 'Access Lo Asylum: A Puman 8lghL' Þro[ecL ln MalLa. lL
bullds on Lhe research carrled ouL by Lhe Þeople for Change loundaLlon over Lhe course of Lhe pasL
12 monLhs lncludlng legal analysls, desk research and a round Lable dlscusslon wlLh varlous
sLakeholders held ln May 2013. 1he research comes aL a Llme when lssues of access Lo Lhe LerrlLory
and Lo proLecLlon could noL be more promlnenL, especlally when one noLes Lhe lncldenLs LhaL Look
place over Lhe summer of 2013.

1he prlmary argumenL LhroughouL Lhls reporL ls LhaL Lhe prlnclple of !"!#$%&"'()%!* applles
lrrespecLlve of Lhe classlflcaLlon of Lhe acL ln quesLlon, lncludlng wheLher lL ls an lnLercepLlon or a
rescue operaLlon, and wheLher lL ls carrled ouL by offlclal vessels or by prlvaLe vessels coordlnaLed
by Lhe SLaLe. An analysls of Lhe +,(,)-. lncldenL clearly hlghllghLs LhaL MalLa (and lLaly ln Lhls case)
cannoL evade Lhelr !"!#$%&"'(%)%!* obllgaLlons by lnsLrucLlng resculng vessels Lo reLurn rescuees
Lo places of dlsembarkaLlon Lo whlch Lhelr own offlclal vessels are precluded from dlsembarklng.
Any such acLlons would amounL Lo 0% &,1*" $%&"'(%)%!* and would be ln vlolaLlon of Lhelr
obllgaLlons under lnLernaLlonal Law.


1he reporL also ldenLlfles a number of challenges ln Lhe lnLernaLlonal law framework surroundlng
marlLlme mlgraLlon. MosL noLably, lL hlghllghLs LhaL whlle lL ls clear LhaL prlorlLy musL aL all Llmes be
glven Lo dlsembarkaLlon, Lhe SA8 ConvenLlon reglme does noL effecLlvely deslgnaLe a defaulL SLaLe
of dlsembarkaLlon. 1hese challenges cannoL, however, [usLlfy Lhe reLurn of lndlvlduals Lo counLrles
where Lhey face persecuLlon or any form of lnhuman or degradlng LreaLmenL or punlshmenL.

1hls reporL ls organlzed as follows: ChapLer 2 presenLs Lhe sallenL legal prlnclples from Lhe 2-$.-
[udgmenL lncludlng lLs dlrecL relevance for MalLa. ChapLer 3 applles Lhese prlnclples Lo Lhe MalLese
conLexL. llrsL, lL presenLs MalLa's legal framework and conLexL ln Lhls regard. lL Lhen moves on Lo
presenL some of Lhe more lmporLanL cases ln whlch MalLa has been lnvolved lncludlng Lhe reLurn of
LrlLreans ln 2002, reLurns Lo Llbya ln 2004 and Lhe lncldenLs from summer 2013. ChapLer 4
dlscusses some of Lhe obllgaLlons relaLlng Lo Lhe prlnclple of non-$%&"'(%)%!* lncludlng Lhe rlghL Lo
be lnformed of Lhe rlghL Lo seek asylum and Lo be asslsLed by a lawyer. ChapLer 3 delves lnLo some
of Lhe legal lssues arlslng from Lhe 34 +,(,)-. lncldenL, dlscusslng Lhese wlLhln Lhe conLexL of Lhe

4
2-$.- [udgmenL and lnLernaLlonal law more broadly. ChapLer 6 concludes by maklng a number of
recommendaLlons. lL calls on Lhe MalLese CovernmenL Lo:

1. ConslsLenLly respecL Lhe prlnclple of non-$%&"'(%)%!*, as appllcable regardless of Lhe
classlflcaLlon of Lhe parLlcular acL, ln llne wlLh MalLa's lnLernaLlonal legal obllgaLlons.
2. Lnsure LhaL Lhe savlng of llves aL sea ls always Lhe flrsL and maln prlorlLy of any lnLercepLlon or
rescue mlsslon, and LhaL persons rescued are noL reLurned Lo a place where Lhey mlghL face
human rlghLs vlolaLlons lncludlng LorLure and cruel and lnhumane LreaLmenL and
punlshmenL.
3. Clarlfy LhaL 'a place of safeLy' refers noL only Lo Lhe physlcal safeLy of Lhe lndlvldual buL musL
also be such a place where hls/her human rlghLs are proLecLed and Lhere ls an effecLlve
opporLunlLy Lo seek lnLernaLlonal proLecLlon.
4. 8alse awareness amongsL lLs varlous branches, lncludlng Lhose dlrecLly lnvolved ln lmmlgraLlon
conLrol of Lhe varlous legal and pollcy lmpllcaLlons of Lhe 2-$.- [udgmenLs lncludlng Lhe poslLlve
obllgaLlons lL ldenLlfles.
3. Lnsure LhaL respecL for human rlghLs, lncludlng Lhe rlghLs of non-naLlonals, ls a prlorlLy ln lLs
negoLlaLlons wlLh Lhe Llbyan governmenL and auLhorlLles.

lurLhermore, we call on Lhe Luropean unlon Lo:
1. Lnsure any deslgnaLlon of a speclflc place of safeLy as Lhe locaLlon of dlsembarkaLlon be
coupled wlLh solldarlLy measures ln place ln order Lo asslsL Lhe SLaLe of dlsembarkaLlon ln Lhe
aLLendanL responslblllLles whlch consequenLly become lncumbenL upon lL.
2. Lnsure LhaL any legal and pollcy developmenLs aL Lhe Luropean level ablde by Lhe prlnclples
seL ouL ln Lhe 2-$.- [udgmenL and fully respecL human rlghLs.
3. Lnsure LhaL lLs own agencles, lncludlng lronLex, do noL engage ln acLlons ln vlolaLlon of Lhe
prlnclple of !"!#$%&"'(%)%!*5 and LhaL Luropean unlon funds are noL uLlllzed Lo supporL
measures LhaL conLravene SLaLes' obllgaLlons ln Lhls regard.
4. Lncourage Lhe developmenL of solldarlLy arrangemenLs beLween varlous Lu Member SLaLes ln
Lerms of Lhe dlsembarkaLlon of persons rescued aL sea.
3. Lnsure LhaL human rlghLs conslderaLlons are a prlmary focus of any negoLlaLlons wlLh Lhlrd
counLrles ln Lhe conLexL of mlgraLlon managemenL.



"
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<(5=')+ 7? H5I'5 5A: 4'+51#6'.7#/#+& >K
<(5=')+ L? M1E('F +)I5'1AE '% 5--)FF '% =+%')-'1%A 5A: =+%-):&+5I E&5+5A'))F 7J
<(5=')+ "? C() 89 :070/*$ @A-1:)A'? 3%4) I)E5I -%AF1:)+5'1%AF 7;
<(5=')+ ;? <%A-I&F1%AF 5A: M)-%44)A:5'1%AF L;



1he Þeople for Change loundaLlon
6
!"#$%"#&
Asylum ls abouL securlLy and safeLy. Powever ln seeklng such a safe place, asylum seekers face
barrlers, maLerlal and vlrLual borders. 1he slLuaLlon of persons ln need of proLecLlon has become
lncreaslngly challenglng slnce crosslng Luropean borders has been made more dlfflculL, almosL
lmposslble. 1hls ls due Lo efforLs such as Lhe Schengen SysLem whlch has erecLed an
lnsurmounLable wall around Lhe exLernal borders of Lhe Luropean unlon. 1he declared reasons for
erecLlng such a ºwall" are Lhe pollLlcal, economlc and soclal necesslLles of sLopplng unconLrolled
mlgraLlon. lrom Lhe polnL of vlew of lnLernaLlonal law, SLaLes are enLlLled Lo deLermlne who ls
allowed Lo enLer Lhelr LerrlLorles, wlLh an excepLlon for Lhelr own clLlzens, who always have Lhe
rlghL Lo reLurn Lo Lhelr counLry. 1hey are also bound by oLher lnLernaLlonal agreemenLs Lo whlch
Lhey become parLy and Lo general prlnclples of lnLernaLlonal law, lncludlng human rlghLs law.

SLaLes may esLabllsh rules and condlLlons regardlng enLerlng Lhelr LerrlLory, for lnsLance Lhrough
Lhe requlremenL of and condlLlons for enLry vlsas. Member SLaLes of Lhe Luropean unlon, Lhrough
Lhe 2009 Schengen vlsa Code and bulldlng on pollcles LhaL have developed over Lhe lasL Lwo
decades, have delegaLed powers Lo Lhe Lu lnsLlLuLlons Lo esLabllsh Lhose rules, sharlng parL of Lhelr
naLlonal soverelgnLy. AL Lhe same Llme, SLaLes have adopLed a wlde range of measures Lo ensure
LhaL Lhose rules are respecLed, as well as Lo prevenL non-auLhorlsed persons from crosslng Lhelr
borders. Such measures do noL only concern Lhe conLrol of physlcal fronLlers and Lhe survelllance of
LerrlLorlal and lnLernaLlonal waLers, buL also lnLervenLlons ln Lhlrd counLrles-Lhose of orlgln or of
LranslL of mlgranLs and refugees. Such measures lnclude, buL are noL llmlLed Lo Lhe provlslon of
Lechnlcal asslsLance aL deparLure alrporLs, seaporLs and marlLlme zones. Such an ºexLernallzaLlon"
sysLem of conLrols has been developed, ln parLlcular, durlng Lhe lasL decade.

LfforLs Lo close borders and sLop lrregular mlgraLlon are also resLrlcLed by and sub[ecL Lo
lnLernaLlonal and Luropean law on Lhe proLecLlon of refugees, ln parLlcular by Lhe prlnclple of !"!#
$%&"'(%)%!*, as well as by general human rlghLs, +! -$+)+. by Lhe rlghL of Lhe person Lo noL be
exposed Lo Lhe rlsk of LorLure, lnhuman or degradlng LreaLmenL or punlshmenL. 1he obllgaLlon of a
SLaLe Lo respecL Lhese rlghLs may acLually resulL ln Lhe obllgaLlon Lo admlL people, aL leasL
Lemporarlly, Lo lLs LerrlLory even when Lhey do noL meeL Lhe requlremenLs for crosslng lLs borders.

Access Lo ÞroLecLlon: A Puman 8lghL
7
1he hlsLorlc [udgmenL of Lhe Luropean CourL of Puman 8lghLs ln Lhe case "#$%# &' ()*+,, of lebruary
2012, noL only condemned lLaly for havlng pushed back mlgranLs, lnLercepLed on Lhe hlgh seas, Lo
Llbya ln 2009, buL also seL ouL guldlng prlnclples regardlng conLrol and survelllance of borders.
1hese prlnclples musL be observed Lo ensure sLrlcL compllance wlLh Lhe rules lald down ln Lhe
Luropean ConvenLlon of Puman 8lghLs Lo whlch Luropean unlon Member SLaLes are parLy. 1hese
prlnclples have also found some resonance ln Lhe Lu 8ecasL ulrecLlve on Lhe procedure for Lhe
recognlLlon of lnLernaLlonal proLecLlon, adopLed ln !une 2013 as well as ln Lhe amendmenL Lo Lhe
8egulaLlon governlng Lhe Luropean Agency lronLex and ln Lhe amendmenL Lo Lhe Schengen 8order
Code.

1he prlmary ob[ecLlve of Lhe pro[ecL ºAccess Lo proLecLlon: a human rlghL" ls Lo assess how Lhe
prlnclples esLabllshed by Lhe SLrasbourg CourL and Lhe Lu leglslaLlon are belng lmplemenLed ln Lhe
parLlclpaLlng counLrles and Lo ldenLlfy recommendaLlons on Lhe way forward.


"#$%&'()#*$ +*%,
ulrecLor, -./%#0+#. ()*+#*/. 12$ ( 3#450#*)# (Lead ÞarLner)


1he Þeople for Change loundaLlon
8
ChapLer 1:
!"#$%&'(#)%"

1hls reporL presenLs Lhe flnal resulLs of Lhe !""#$$ &' !$()*+, ! -*+./ 0123& Þro[ecL ln MalLa. lL
bullds on Lhe research carrled ouL by Lhe Þeople for Change loundaLlon over Lhe course of Lhe pasL
12 monLhs lncludlng legal analysls, desk research and a round Lable dlscusslon wlLh varlous
sLakeholders held ln May 2013.

1hls pro[ecL sLarLs from Lhe premlse LhaL Lhe Luropean CourL of Puman 8lghLs [udgmenL ln -14$1
5.+.. 67 8&.)( ls a hlsLorlc declslon LhaL wlll lnform fuLure developmenLs. 1he case promlses Lo
shape debaLes and legal developmenLs for Lhe years Lo come, noL leasL because Lhe courL has gone
lnLo palnsLaklng deLall Lo ensure LhaL lL covers a varleLy of lssues and scenarlos.

1hls research comes aL a Llme when lssues of access Lo Lhe LerrlLory and Lo proLecLlon could noL be
more promlnenL. 1he summer of 2013 saw hundreds of persons lose Lhelr llves ln Lhe
MedlLerranean sea durlng aLLempLs Lo reach proLecLlon ln Lurope. lL also saw Lwo lnsLances where
Lhe prlnclples of non-4#9'*)#+#/& were aL rlsk ln MalLa. llrsL, ln !uly 2013, Lhe MalLese governmenL
consldered reLurnlng a group of mlgranLs Lo Llbya, a move LhaL was sLopped by an lnLerlm measure
of Lhe Luropean CourL of Puman 8lghLs. Second, ln SepLember 2013, a vessel LhaL rescued mlgranLs
from dlsLress was lnsLrucLed by Lhe lLallan and MalLese auLhorlLles Lo reLurn Lhe rescued mlgranLs
Lo Llbya. 1he masLer of Lhe vessel refused and evenLually Lhe mlgranLs were dlsembarked ln lLaly.
8oLh Lhese cases recelve parLlcular aLLenLlon ln Lhls reporL. 1he laLLer lncldenL ralses a number of
lnLeresLlng legal quesLlons whlch are addressed ln depLh laLer ln Lhe reporL.

1hls analysls ls parLlcularly relevanL for a counLry llke MalLa, where Lhe vasL ma[orlLy of asylum
seekers arrlve lrregularly vla Lhe marlLlme border. SLaLlsLlcs from Lhe Cfflce of Lhe 8efugee
Commlssloner lndlcaLe LhaL beLween 2008 and 2013
1
over 92° of asylum appllcanLs (10,372
appllcanLs compared Lo 993 who had arrlved vla dlfferenL channels) reached MalLa by boaL. 1hls
musL also be consldered whllsL bearlng ln mlnd LhaL over 63° of declslons made by Lhe Cfflce of
Lhe 8efugee Commlssloner slnce 2002 have found for Lhe ellglblllLy of some form of lnLernaLlonal

1
1he numbers for 2013 are provlslonal as noL all appllcaLlons have been lnpuLLed yeL.
Access Lo ÞroLecLlon: A Puman 8lghL
9
proLecLlon. lL ls clear Lherefore LhaL a large parL of mlgranLs arrlvlng vla Lhe sea border are persons
ln need of lnLernaLlonal proLecLlon.

1hls reporL ls organlzed as follows. ChapLer 2 presenLs Lhe sallenL legal prlnclples from Lhe Plrsl
[udgmenL lncludlng lLs dlrecL relevance for MalLa. ChapLer 3 applles Lhese prlnclples Lo Lhe MalLese
conLexL. llrsL lL presenLs MalLa's legal framework ln Lhls regard. lL Lhen moves on Lo presenL some
of Lhe more lmporLanL cases ln whlch MalLa has been lnvolved lncludlng Lhe reLurn of LrlLreans ln
2002, reLurns Lo Llbya ln 2004 and Lhe lncldenLs from summer 2013. ChapLer 4 dlscusses some of
Lhe obllgaLlons relaLlng Lo Lhe prlnclple of non-!"#$%&"'"()* lncludlng Lhe rlghL Lo be lnformed of
Lhe rlghL Lo seek asylum and Lo be asslsLed by a lawyer. ChapLer 3 delves lnLo some of Lhe legal
lssues arlslng from Lhe +, ./&/'01 lncldenL, dlscusslng Lhese wlLhln Lhe conLexL of Lhe 20!10
[udgmenL and lnLernaLlonal law more broadly. ChapLer 6 concludes by maklng a number of
recommendaLlons.



1he Þeople for Change loundaLlon
10
ChapLer 2:
!"# !"#$" %&'()#*+ ,*' -+. /-0#1+ 2)3,1+ 4* 5,6+,

1he facLs ln Lhe !"#$" case
2
sLemmed from an lnLercepLlon exerclse and subsequenL push-back
3

carrled ouL by lLallan offlclal personnel on Lhe basls of a serles of bllaLeral agreemenLs beLween
lLaly and Llbya ln 2009. lndeed, cenLral Lo Lhe declslon of Lhe CourL was Lhe leglLlmacy or oLherwlse
of Lhls push-back pracLlce, as lL came Lo be referred Lo, ln Lhe conLexL of lnLercepLlon of mlgranL
vessels on Lhe hlgh seas and Lhelr forclble reLurn Lo Llbya ln Lhe conLexL of bllaLeral arrangemenLs
beLween lLaly and Llbya.
4


1he clrcumsLances of Lhe case are reporLed ln deLall ln Lhe [udgmenL,
3
Lhey are brlefly recalled
here. 1he appllcanLs (11 Somall naLlonals and 13 LrlLrean naLlonals) formed parL of a group of &"#&'(
200 lndlvlduals leavlng Llbya on 3 vessels and lnLendlng Lo reach lLallan shores. When Lhe vessels
were slLuaLed 33 nauLlcal mlles (nm) souLh of Lampedusa and wlLhln Lhe MalLese Search and
8escue (SA8) area,
6
Lhey were lnLercepLed by Lhree lLallan offlclal vessels. 1he mlgranLs were Lhen
Lransferred Lo Lhe lLallan vessels, all personal effecLs were conflscaLed and no lndlcaLlon of Lhelr
desLlnaLlon was glven nor any formal ldenLlflcaLlon process carrled ouL. AfLer a 10 hour voyage, on
reachlng Lhe porL of 1rlpoll, Lhe mlgranLs were handed over Lo Llbyan auLhorlLles desplLe Lhelr
unwllllngness Lo do so.
7



2
!"#$" )'*'' '+, -./0#$ 1 2.'34 (AppllcaLlon no 27763/09), 23 lebruary 2012.
3
M uen Pel[er sLaLes LhaL Lhe Lerm 'push-back' was probably colned by Lhe unPC8. See: M uen Pel[er, '8eflecLlons on
5067830*0+. and CollecLlve Lxpulslon ln Lhe !"#$" Case' 23 2+.0#+'."7+'3 )78#+'3 76 5068900 :'; 2, 269, unCP8 8rleflng
noLe 14 !uly 2009, 'unPC8 lnLervlew asylum seekers pushed back Lo Llbya' avallable onllne:
hLLp://www.unhcr.org/4a3c638b6.hLml.
4
A 1reaLy of lrlendshlp, ÞarLnershlp and CooperaLlon was concluded ln AugusL 2008 wlLh an lmplemenLlng ÞroLocol
(Lhe conLenLs of whlch are noL publlcly avallable) belng concluded ln lebruary 2009. See furLher: n 8onzlLLl, '1he 1reaLy
on lrlendshlp, ÞarLnershlp and CooperaLlon beLween lLaly and Llbya: new ÞrospecLs for CooperaLlon ln Lhe
MedlLerranean? 1 <8330."+ 76 2.'3"'+ =73"."&$ 1 (2009) pp. 123-133. See also, for hlsLory of Lhe AgreemenL: unPC8,
'unPC8's 1hlrd ÞarLy Submlsslon Lo Lhe LCP8 ln Lhe case of !"#$" '+, -./0#$ 1 2.'34' (AppllcaLlon no. 27763/09), page 2.
3
Þaras 9-14.
6
A SA8 reglon ls deflned ln Lhe Annex Lo Lhe ConvenLlon as an 'area of deflned dlmenslons assoclaLed wlLh a rescue co-
ordlnaLlon cenLre wlLhln whlch search and rescue servlces are provlded.' ChapLer 1, para. 1.3.4. MalLa has a vasL SA8
area, spannlng more Lhan 230,000 square kllomeLres, an area llnked Lo lLs fllghL lnformaLlon reglon.
7
Þara.12: accordlng Lo Lhe appllcanLs' verslon of evenLs, Lhe mlgranLs ob[ecLed buL Lhey were forced off Lhe lLallan
shlps.
Access Lo ÞroLecLlon: A Puman 8lghL
11
1he flrsL push-back operaLlons by lLaly began ln May 2009 whereby lLallan coasLal auLhorlLles began
lnLercepLlng mlgranLs ln lnLernaLlonal waLers off Lhe coasL of Lampedusa and summarlly reLurnlng
Lhem Lo Llbya. Whlle Lhe new sLraLegy led Lo a greaL reducLlon ln arrlvals from Llbya (wlLh Lhe
lLallan news agency AnSA reporLlng LhaL lLaly's push-back pollcy resulLed ln a 96° drop ln arrlvals),
8

Lhese push-backs prompLed wldespread crlLlclsm as a clear vlolaLlon of lnLernaLlonal law, and more
speclflcally, of Lhe !"!#$%&"'(%)%!* obllgaLlon.
9


MalLa was an lndlrecL 'beneflclary' of Lhls pracLlce. Þerhaps Lhls ls Lhe reason why Lhe SLaLe never
offlclally condemned Lhe push-backs whlch lndeed were arguably supporLed by boLh Lhe
CovernmenL and Lhe CpposlLlon.
10
Whlle Lhe +,$-, case arose from an "#$%&'%($")# %*%&'"+%, Lhe
MalLa ls prlmarlly lnvolved ln &%+',% )(%&-$")#+. noneLheless, a number of cardlnal prlnclples
ldenLlfled by Lhe [udgmenL apply equally Lo acLlons posL-rescue aL sea (as shall be noLed below).
lurLhermore, Lhe obllgaLlon of !"!#$%&"'(%)%!* was held Lo apply equally Lo lnLercepLlon exerclses
and Lo rescue operaLlons aL sea.

A number of lssues demand furLher conslderaLlon. llrsL, Lhls 8eporL offers a synLhesls of Lhe maln
flndlngs of Lhe Crand Chamber of Lhe Luropean CourL of Puman 8lghLs (LCLP8) ln Lhe +,$-, case and
an examlnaLlon of how far Lhese apply Lo Lhe MalLese SLaLe. lollowlng Lhls, Lhe 8eporL wlll
conslder Lwo ma[or lncldenLs whlch occurred ln Lhe laLLer parL of 2013 ln relaLlon Lo lrregular
marlLlme mlgraLlon and SLaLe obllgaLlons ln Lhls regard. 1hls porLlon of Lhe naLlonal 8eporL wlll
apply Lhe maln flndlngs ln Lhe +,$-, Case Lo acLlons of Lhe MalLese SLaLe ln Lhe summer of 2013.



8
AnSA, '96° drop ln mlgranL arrlvals afLer accord wlLh Llbya' (8ome, 16 Aprll 2010), see also: P Crech, 'Þush-back'
behlnd sLeep decllne ln lmmlgranL arrlvals' /'!012 3,)%- "& 41(*1, 13 november 2009, reporLlng a 30° decllne ln
mlgranL arrlvals compared Lo Lhe prevlous year.
9
See for example: Puman 8lghLs WaLch, 'Þushed 8ack-Þushed Around: lLaly's lorced 8eLurn of 8oaL MlgranLs and
Asylum Seekers, Llbya's MlsLreaLmenL of MlgranLs and Asylum Seekers' (8eporL) 2009, Puman 8lghLs WaLch, 'World
8eporL 2010', page 403, !esulL 8efugee Servlce, '8emoval of 227 mlgranLs Lo Llbya dlrecLly conLravenes lnLernaLlonal
laws' 7 May 2009, Mlgreurop, 'lllegal 8efoulemenL of 300 mlgranLs Lo Llbya: Lhe Lu musL condemn lLallan AuLhorlLles'
11 May 2009, unPC8, 'lollow-up from unPC8 on lLaly's Þush-8acks' (8rleflng noLes) 12 May 2009, Councll of Lurope,
CommlLLee on MlgraLlon, 8efugees and ÞopulaLlon, Ad Poc Sub-CommlLLee on Lhe large-scale arrlval of lrregular
mlgranLs, asylum seekers and refugees on Lurope's souLhern shores, 8eporL on Lhe vlslL Lo Lampedusa (lLaly), 23-24
May 2011, AS/MlC/APLA8C (2011) 03 8Lv. 2, 30 SepLember 2011.
10
k Sansone, 'A Case of 8ad !udgmenL?' 3,)%- "& 41(*1, 23 lebruary 2012, k Sansone, 'Sendlng mlgranLs back ls 'noL
wrong'' 3,)%- "& 41(*1, 23 !une 2012, k Sansone, 'WaLchdog surprlsed by MalLa's supporL for mlgranL pushbacks'
3,)%- "& 41(*1, 30 !une 2012.
1he Þeople for Change loundaLlon
12

"#$ %&&'() *& %+),- .'(/0/*10 *1 234)3
As a prellmlnary polnL, [udgmenLs of Lhe LCLP8 are blndlng on Lhe parLles Lo Lhe parLlcular case, as
per ArLlcle 33(1) of Lhe ConvenLlon on Puman 8lghLs and lundamenLal lreedoms (LCP8) provldlng
LhaL Lhe 'Plgh ConLracLlng ÞarLles underLake Lo ablde by Lhe flnal [udgmenL of Lhe CourL ln a case Lo
whlch Lhey are parLles.'
11
1hls poslLlon ls remlnlscenL of Lhe relgnlng poslLlon ln oLher lnLernaLlonal
courLs and Lrlbunals such as for example, Lhe lnLernaLlonal CourL of !usLlce.
12
ln Lhe same way as
oLher lnLernaLlonal [udlclal fora, Lhe LCLP8 sLrlves Lo malnLaln [udlclal conslsLency Lo ensure
sLablllLy ln lLs declslons, evldenced also by Lhe reference Lo oLher earller [udgmenLs. 1he CourL
Lherefore malnLalns a level of sLablllLy ln lnLerpreLlng Lhe provlslons of Lhe LCP8 whlch are blndlng
on Lhe Member SLaLes of Lhe Councll of Lurope. 1hus, lL ls safe Lo malnLaln LhaL Lhe member SLaLes
are bound by Lhe provlslons of Lhe LCP8 as lnLerpreLed by Lhe CourL. lL ls clear LhaL Lhe CourL has
adopLed a broad concepLlon of lLs role wlLhln Lhe Luropean ConvenLlon reglme ln LhaL lL lnLerpreLs
obllgaLlons ln a way LhaL lLs declslons have effecL beyond Lhe lmmedlaLe [udgmenL.
13
As was apLly
noLed ln !"#$%&' ) *&+,#' -+&.'/0:
1he CourL's [udgmenLs ln facL serve noL only Lo declde Lhose cases broughL before Lhe CourL
buL, more generally, Lo elucldaLe, safeguard and develop Lhe rules lnsLlLuLed by Lhe
ConvenLlon, Lhereby conLrlbuLlng Lo Lhe observance by Lhe SLaLes of Lhe engagemenLs
underLaken by Lhem as ConLracLlng ÞarLles.
14


1he ÞarllamenLary Assembly of Lhe Councll of Lurope (ÞACL) also concelves of Lhe role of Lhe CourL
ln a slmllarly broad manner, sLaLlng LhaL 'Lhe case law of Lhe [CourL] forms parL of Lhe ConvenLlon,
Lhus exLendlng Lhe legally blndlng force of Lhe ConvenLlon #".% /0&#1 (Lo all oLher parLles)'.
13



11
ConvenLlon for Lhe ÞroLecLlon of Puman 8lghLs and lundamenLal lreedoms (8ome, 4 november 1930, enLered lnLo
force 3 SepLember 1933) CL1S no 003, 213 un1S 221.
12
See ArLlcle 39 SLaLuLe of Lhe lnLernaLlonal CourL of !usLlce.
13
L8 Pelfer and L voeLen, 'uo Luropean CourL of Puman 8lghLs !udgmenLs ÞromoLe Legal and Þollcy Change?' (drafL,
avallable onllne, page 3).
14
23 Lur. CL. P. 8. aL para. 134 (ser. A) (1978)
13
8esoluLlon 1226, ÞACL, LxecuLlon of !udgmenLs of Lhe Luropean CourL of Puman 8lghLs (2000) aL para. 3.
Access Lo ÞroLecLlon: A Puman 8lghL
13
!"! #$%&'() +',$% -.(/&0'1$)&.(/
1he relevanL legal reglme ln marlLlme mlgraLlon scenarlos ls characLerlzed by Lhe lnLerplay of
varlous - and someLlmes confllcLlng - branches of lnLernaLlonal law. 1he unlLed naLlons
ConvenLlon on Lhe Law of Lhe Sea (LCSC)
16
provldes SLaLes wlLh [urlsdlcLlonal powers ln Lhe
respecLlve marlLlme zones ad[acenL Lo Lhelr coasLs, LogeLher wlLh Lhe obllgaLlon Lo rescue Lhose ln
dlsLress aL sea. lurLhermore, humanlLarlan prlnclples of proLecLlon, lnvolvlng human rlghLs
conslderaLlons and also Lhe proLecLlon granLed Lo asylum-seekers by refugee law, are cruclal ln
such slLuaLlons. AgalnsL Lhls, Lhere ls Lhe backdrop of Lhe law seeklng Lo repress Lhe smuggllng of
mlgranLs, recognlzed aL lnLernaLlonal Law Lo be a Lype of LransnaLlonal organlzed crlme, as
provlded for ln Lhe MlgranL Smuggllng ÞroLocol.
17


1he !"#$" push-backs occurred ln Lhe conLexL of an lnLerdlcLlon
18
exerclse by lLallan auLhorlLles on
Lhe basls of accords enLered lnLo wlLh Llbya. lnLercepLlon ls Lhe prlmary Lool employed by SLaLes ln
reduclng boaL arrlvals aL Lhelr shores. 8escue aL sea ls Lo be dlfferenLlaLed Lo Lhe acL of marlLlme
enforcemenL amounLlng Lo lnLercepLlon, dlfferlng ln boLh lnLenLlon and purpose. Powever, whlle
lnLercepLlon ls an exerclse reserved Lo SLaLe auLhorlLles and forms parL of a programme of marlLlme
enforcemenL, Lhe Lwo someLlmes overlap, and an lnLercepLlon exerclse may pre-empL Lhe need for
a rescue.
19
1hls noLwlLhsLandlng, SLaLes cannoL classlfy border paLrols and lnLercepLlon exerclses as
rescue aL sea operaLlons ln order Lo clrcumvenL any proLecLlon duLles LhaL may arlse from such
lnLervenLlon.
20


lLaly had aLLempLed Lhls argumenL before Lhe LCLP8 (paras 63 - 66) argulng LhaL because Lhe
parLlcular push-back occurred ln Lhe conLexL of a rescue operaLlon, Lhe level of lnLervenLlon was

16
MonLego 8ay, 10 uecember 1982, enLered lnLo force 16 november 1994) 1833 un1S 3, 21 lLM 1261
17
ÞroLocol agalnsL Lhe Smuggllng of MlgranLs by Land, Sea and Alr, SupplemenLlng Lhe unlLed naLlons ConvenLlon
agalnsL 1ransnaLlonal Crganlsed Crlme (Þalermo, 13 november 2000, enLered lnLo force 28 !anuary 2004) 40 lLM 384
18
1he Lerms lnLerdlcLlon and lnLercepLlons are Lo be read as belng synonymous. See wlLh regard Lo Lhe deflnlLlon of
'lnLerdlcLlon' Cullfoyle's Lwo-sLage descrlpLlon of Lhe acL aL u Cullfoyle, %&"''"() +(,-#."/,"0( 1(. ,&- 213 04 ,&- %-1
(Cambrldge unlverslLy Þress, uk, 2009) 4-3.
19
1o Lhls end, noLe Lhe LeglslaLlve Culde whlch sLaLes LhaL ArLlcles 7 and 8 based on enforcemenL and suppresslon of a
crlmlnal acLlvlLy should noL prevenL conslderaLlon of rescue aL sea. Þage 388 para. 100. See furLher, Þ Mallla, 5")#1(,
%67))8"() 9: %-1 (MarLlnus nl[hoff, 1he neLherlands, 2010) 99.
20
See for example: Councll of Lurope, 8esponse of Lhe lLallan CovernmenL Lo Lhe reporL of Lhe Luropean CommlLLee
for Lhe ÞrevenLlon of 1orLure and lnhuman or uegradlng 1reaLmenL of ÞunlshmenL (CÞ1) on lLs vlslL Lo lLaly from 27 Lo
31 !uly 2009, CÞ1/lnl (2010) 13, SLrasbourg, 28 Aprll 2010.
1he Þeople for Change loundaLlon
14
noL sufflclenL Lo Lrlgger a llnk beLween Lhe SLaLe and Lhe rescuees sufflclenL Lo found [urlsdlcLlon
under ArLlcle 1 of Lhe ConvenLlon on Puman 8lghLs and lundamenLal lreedoms (LCP8).
21
1he
Crand Chamber re[ecLed Lhls argumenL. lL malnLalned LhaL a SLaLe cannoL clrcumvenL any duLles
under a relevanL ConvenLlon (ln Lhls case Lhe LCP8) by classlfylng Lhe evenLs as a rescue operaLlon
on Lhe hlgh seas. 1hus, whaLever Lhe classlflcaLlon of Lhe acL, comlng lnLo conLacL wlLh mlgranLs on
board a vessel calls for respecL for human rlghLs. Þreclsely due Lo Lhls human facLor, humanlLarlan
and human rlghLs conslderaLlons musL shape any exerclse concernlng Lhese vessels and, any border
conLrol exerclse, rescue mlsslon or declslon Lo dlsembark lndlvlduals musL be lmbued wlLh human
rlghLs safeguards.
lL emerges Lherefore LhaL obllgaLlons such as !"!#$%&"'(%)%!* are acLlvaLed lrrespecLlve of Lhe
classlflcaLlon of Lhe parLlcular acL and apply Lo SLaLes ln boLh lnLercepLlon and rescue aL sea
scenarlos.
22
ln Lhls way, 'lLaly cannoL clrcumvenL lLs [urlsdlcLlon by descrlblng Lhe evenLs as rescue
operaLlons on Lhe hlgh seas' (para. 79).

"#$%&'%()%*+

1he flndlng of Lhe Crand Chamber regardlng Lhe [urlsdlcLlonal reach of Lhe ConvenLlon lndlcaLes
LhaL where SLaLe agenLs operaLe ouLslde Lhe LerrlLory, and aL Lhe very leasL, when Lhey exerclse
conLrol and auLhorlLy over Lhe lndlvldual, Lhe SLaLe has [urlsdlcLlon and ls under an obllgaLlon Lo
secure Lo Lhe lndlvldual Lhe rlghL concerned (para. 74).

1he CourL re[ecLed lLaly's argumenL above-menLloned LhaL Lhere was no SLaLe [urlsdlcLlon over a
'rescue operaLlon ln Lhe hlgh seas' and LhaL lLaly was noL responslble for Lhe faLe of Lhe appllcanLs
on accounL of Lhe mlnlmal conLrol exerclsed by Lhe auLhorlLles over Lhe parLles concerned (para.
79). lndeed, slnce 'Lhe appllcanLs were under Lhe conLlnuous and excluslve ,% -'$% and ,% &./*"
conLrol of Lhe lLallan auLhorlLles', Lhe naLure and Lhe purpose of Lhe lnLervenLlon were lrrelevanL
(para. 81).
23



21
ArLlcle 1 of Lhe ConvenLlon provldes LhaL '1he Plgh ConLracLlng ÞarLles shall secure Lo everyone wlLhln Lhelr
[urlsdlcLlon Lhe rlghLs and freedoms deflned ln SecLlon l of Lhls ConvenLlon.'
22
noLe LhaL Lhe Commlsslon Þroposal (12.4.2013 CCM(2013) 197 flnal, referred Lo below) acknowledges Lhls facL.
23
noLe also: 0%,1%,-%1 %* .( 1 2$.!/% 29 March 2010, Crand Chamber, AppllcaLlon no 3394/03, para. 67.
Access Lo ÞroLecLlon: A Puman 8lghL
13
1hls flndlng was occasloned by Lhe facL LhaL Lhe enforcemenL acLlons occurred on Lhe hlgh seas, a
marlLlme zone whlch ls open Lo all SLaLes, wheLher coasLal or land-locked, and where shlps are only
sub[ecL Lo Lhe [urlsdlcLlon of Lhe SLaLe whose flag Lhey fly.
24
lL was polnLed ouL LhaL Lhe 'speclal
naLure of Lhe marlLlme envlronmenL cannoL [usLlfy an area ouLslde Lhe law where lndlvlduals are
covered by no legal sysLem capable of affordlng Lhem en[oymenL of Lhe rlghLs and guaranLees
proLecLed by Lhe ConvenLlon' (para. 178). 1he hlgh seas are noL a lawless area where SLaLes may
commlL acLs wlLh lmpunlLy whlch, lf commlLLed elsewhere, would have engaged Lhelr lnLernaLlonal
responslblllLy.
23


1he Crand Chamber unequlvocally esLabllshed LhaL, posL-rescue, people are noL Lo be pushed back
Lo a counLry where Lhey rlsk belng LreaLed ln vlolaLlon of ArLlcle 3 LCP8 whlch proLecLs agalnsL
lnhuman and degradlng LreaLmenL or punlshmenL.
26
1hls cardlnal proLecLlon prlnclple of
lnLernaLlonal refugee law has found lLs way lnLo Lhe law of human rlghLs whereby !"#$% '(!', 'wlLhln
Lurope, Lhe Luropean CourL of Puman 8lghLs has, Lhrough lLs case law on ArLlcle 3 of Lhe LCP8,
exLended Lhe prlnclple of ")"*%$+),($-$"# Lo all persons who may be exposed Lo a real rlsk of
LorLure, lnhuman or degradlng LreaLmenL or punlshmenL should Lhey be reLurned Lo a parLlcular
counLry.'
27
1o Lhls exLenL, lL has been descrlbed as possesslng .,/ 0)1$"/ sLaLus.
28
Puman 8lghLs
law provldes a wlder neL of proLecLlon Lhan 8efugee Law - noL only ln Lhe persons lL addresses buL
also Lhe scope of lLs proLecLlon. ArLlcle 3, provldlng proLecLlon from reLurn Lo a counLry where Lhe
lndlvldual may be sub[ecLed Lo LorLure, lnhuman or degradlng LreaLmenL or punlshmenL, Lherefore
provldes an exLenslon of Lhe proLecLlon provlded by refugee law and may lndeed prove Lo be a
more effecLlve means of proLecLlon for asylum seekers.

1he obllgaLlon of ")"*%$+),($-$"# ls noL llmlLed LerrlLorlally buL operaLes wherever a SLaLe acLs -
even on Lhe hlgh seas and lndeed, wherever a SLaLe exerclses effecLlve conLrol over a vessel.
29
lL

24
See LCSC ArLlcles 87, 89 and 92.
23
ln Lhls regard see for example: paras 69, 178, Concurrlng Cplnlon page 77 and 2//' '"3 4#5$%/ 6 7,%8$9 (2004) para.
71.
26
8egardlng Lhe vlolaLlons wlLh regard Lo whlch ")"*%$+),($-$"# ls appllcable see: P8C, Ceneral CommenL (CC) no 31,
(CCÞ8/C/21/8ev.1/Add.13, 26/03/2004) §12, :7 6 ;,/#%'(!', CCÞ8/C/61/u/706/1996, 4 uecember 1997, §8.7.
27
8ef: CÞ1 8eporL, para. 26. See also: Concurrlng Cplnlon pages 62-63 and unPC8, 'noLe on lnLernaLlonal ÞroLecLlon'
13 SepLember 2001 (A/AC.96/931) para. 16.
28
Concurrlng Cplnlon of !udge Albuquerque, page 63. See also: Concluslon no. 23 (xxxlll) - 1982, para. (b).
29
See also: unPC8, Advlsory Cplnlon on Lhe LxLraLerrlLorlal AppllcaLlon of non-8efoulemenL CbllgaLlons under Lhe
1931 ConvenLlon 8elaLlng Lo Lhe SLaLus of 8efugees and lLs 1967 ÞroLocol (26 !anuary 2007) 10, aL
hLLp://www.refworld.org/pdfld/43f17a1a4.pdf, <'!#!'" =$"#%$ +)% <,-'" >!15#/ 6? @"!#$3 A#'#$/, Case no. 10.673,
1he Þeople for Change loundaLlon
16
has flnally been esLabllshed LhaL Lhe exerclse of [urlsdlcLlon by a SLaLe engages LhaL SLaLe's
proLecLlon obllgaLlons vls-a-vls persons on board, lrrespecLlve of Lhe locaLlon of LhaL lnLercepLlon. lL
ls Lherefore Lhe exerclse of SLaLe acLlon whlch ls Lhe deLermlnlng facLor ln wheLher or noL Lhe !"!#
$%&"'(%)%!* obllgaLlon ls Lrlggered ln exLraLerrlLorlal areas.

+%&"'(%)%!* wlLh respecL Lo ArLlcle 3 LCP8
30
exlsLed wlLh regards Lo Lwo aspecLs ln Lhe case. lL was
esLabllshed LhaL Lhere was a dlrecL rlsk LhaL Lhe appllcanLs would suffer lnhuman and degradlng
LreaLmenL ln Llbya. lurLher, Lhere was also Lhe danger of secondary $%&"'(%)%!* by Llbya Lo Lhelr
respecLlve counLrles of orlgln, namely Somalla and LrlLrea where, Lhe CourL noLed, Lhere exlsLed
'wldespread serlous problems of lnsecurlLy' (para. 131).

A cruclal feaLure of Lhe [udgmenL, relevanL Lo any SLaLe's acLlons ln Lhe appllcaLlon of !"!#
$%&"'(%)%!*, ls Lhe proacLlve obllgaLlon on Lhe parL of Lhe Member SLaLe. lL wlll be recalled LhaL
lLaly had conLended LhaL aL no Llme had Lhe appllcanLs expressed Lhelr lnLenLlon Lo requesL asylum
and LhaL a requesL noL Lo be handed over Lo Llbyan auLhorlLles could noL be lnLerpreLed as such.
31

lurLhermore, due Lo Lhe facL LhaL, as lLaly malnLalned, Lhe lnLervenLlon was carrled ouL ln Lhe
conLexL of a rescue aL sea operaLlon, lL was noL necessary Lo conducL a formal ldenLlflcaLlon process
of Lhe parLles concerned.
32
1he CourL however malnLalned LhaL lL was up Lo Lhe 'naLlonal
auLhorlLles .. Lo flnd ouL abouL Lhe LreaLmenL Lo whlch Lhe appllcanLs would be exposed afLer Lhelr
reLurn [and] .. Lhe facL LhaL Lhe parLles concerned had falled Lo expressly requesL asylum dld noL
exempL lLaly from fulfllllng lLs obllgaLlons under Lhe ArLlcle.
33
1he 'knew or should have known'
obllgaLlon ls predomlnanL slnce Lhe lrregular mlgranLs would be exposed ln Llbya Lo LreaLmenL ln
breach of Lhe ConvenLlon and LhaL Lhey would noL be glven any klnd of proLecLlon ln LhaL counLry.
34

1he obllgaLlon of !"!#$%&"'(%)%!* ls Lhus Lrlggered even ln Lhe absence of a requesL for asylum or
asslsLance.

lnLer-Am. Comm'n P.8., 8eporL no. 31/96, CLA/Ser.L/v/ll.93 uoc. 7 rev, aL 330, ¶ 137 (1997), Submlsslon by Lhe Cfflce
of Lhe unlLed naLlons Plgh Commlssloner for 8efugees ln Lhe Case of -.$/. 0!1 2*3%$/ 4 5*0(6, App. no. 27763/09 (Lur.
CL. P.8. leb. 23, 2012), para. 24 avallable aL hLLp://www.unhcr.org/refworld/pdfld/4d92d2c22.pdf.
30
ArLlcle 3 LCP8 provldes LhaL 'no one shall be sub[ecLed Lo LorLure or Lo lnhuman or degradlng LreaLmenL or
punlshmenL.'
31
Þara.96, and see also: 8esponse of Lhe lLallan CovernmenL Lo Lhe reporL of Lhe Luropean CommlLLee for Lhe
ÞrevenLlon of 1orLure and lnhuman or uegradlng 1reaLmenL or ÞunlshmenL (CÞ1) on lLs vlslL Lo lLaly from 27 Lo 31 !uly
2009, 28 Aprll 2010, Þara.u, pages 9-11.
32
Þara.93
33
Þara.133. See also Concurrlng Cplnlon page 64.
34
See paras 131, 133, 137, 136 and 137.
Access Lo ÞroLecLlon: A Puman 8lghL
17
1he poslLlve duLy on Lhe parL of Lhe SLaLe had also been hlghllghLed ln !"" $ %&'()*+ ,-. /0&&1&
33

Lo Lhe effecL LhaL a SLaLe's duLy aL lnLernaLlonal Law .2&3 enLall a poslLlve duLy Lo examlne whaL
LreaLmenL lndlvlduals would be exposed Lo followlng Lhelr reLurn. !"" $ %&'()*+ ,-. /0&&1&
malnLalned LhaL Lhls poslLlve obllgaLlon overrldes Lhe dlcLaLes even of Lhe uublln 8egulaLlon. ln
shorL, laws cannoL be auLomaLlcally applled wlLhouL reference Lo Lhe subsequenL LreaLmenL of
lndlvlduals.
36


1he flndlng of Lhe Crand Chamber lnsofar as concerns collecLlve expulslons
37
doveLalls nlcely wlLh
Lhe obllgaLlon of -2-40&52*'&+&-6.
38
1hls was explalned by !udge Albuquerque Lo Lhe effecL LhaL
Lhe -2-40&52*'&+&-6 obllgaLlon has Lwo procedural consequences: Lhe duLy Lo advlse an allen of hls
rlghLs Lo obLaln lnLernaLlonal proLecLlon and Lhe duLy Lo provlde for an lndlvldual, falr and effecLlve
refugee sLaLus deLermlnaLlon and assessmenL procedure.
39
1he effecL of Lhls where push-backs are
concerned ls LhaL Lhey consLlLuLe vlolaLlons of Lhe prohlblLlon of collecLlve expulslon and serlously
rlsk breachlng Lhe -2-40&52*'&+&-6 obllgaLlon.

lnsofar as concerns Lhe effecLlve remedy sLlpulaLed ln ArLlcle 13 LCP8,
40
Lhls musL be effecLlve ln
pracLlce as well as ln law. Cnce agaln, Lhls Lles ln wlLh Lhe concepL of -2-40&52*'&+&-6 slnce Lhe
prlnclple lnvolved procedural obllgaLlons for SLaLes and LhaL lL was Lhe responslblllLy of ConLracLlng
SLaLes ln cases of lnLercepLlon resulLlng ln push-backs Lo ensure LhaL each person had an 'effecLlve
opporLunlLy Lo challenge hls or her reLurn.'
41
1he Crand Chamber aLLached greaL lmporLance Lo Lhe

33
LCLP8, !7"7"7 $ %&'()*+ ,-. /0&&1& (!udgmenL), (2011) AppllcaLlon no. 30696/09.
36
See furLher, Þ. Mallla, 'Case of !7"7"7 $ %&'()*+ ,-. /0&&1&8 9 :,6,';36 )- 6<& =&46<)->)-( 25 6<& ?*@')- AA =&(*',6)2-'
30 =&5*(&& "*0$&; B*,06&0'; 3, 107 (2011).
37
lor Lhe flrsL Llme, Lhe Crand Chamber ruled LhaL exLraLerrlLorlal acLlons may vlolaLe ArLlcle 4 of ÞroLocol no 4. 1he
removal of allens Lo a Lhlrd SLaLe carrled ouL exLraLerrlLorlally vlolaLed Lhe purpose of Lhe provlslon belng 'Lo prevenL
SLaLes belng able Lo remove cerLaln allens wlLhouL examlnlng Lhelr personal clrcumsLances (para. 177)' 1he CourL noLed
LhaL, should Lhe provlslon only apply Lo collecLlve expulslons from Lhe LerrlLory of Lhe SLaLe ÞarLy, 'a slgnlflcanL
componenL of conLemporary mlgraLory paLLerns would noL fall wlLhln Lhe amblL of LhaL provlslon, noLwlLhsLandlng Lhe
facL LhaL Lhe conducL lL ls lnLended Lo prohlblL can occur ouLslde naLlonal LerrlLory and ln parLlcular, as ln Lhe lnsLanL
case, on Lhe hlgh seas' (para. 177).
38
1he llnk was broughL ouL by Lhe Columbla Law School Puman 8lghLs Cllnlc, ln para. 163, whereln one reads LhaL Lhe
prlnclple of -2-40&52*'&+&-6 requlred SLaLes Lo refraln from removlng lndlvlduals wlLhouL havlng assessed Lhelr
clrcumsLances on a case-by-case basls.
39
Concurrlng Cplnlon page 73, where Lhe quallLles of an effecLlve refugee sLaLus deLermlnaLlon procedure are also
ouLllned.
40
ArLlcle 13 sLaLes 'Lveryone whose rlghLs and freedoms as seL forLh ln [Lhe] ConvenLlon are vlolaLed shall have an
effecLlve remedy before a naLlonal auLhorlLy noLwlLhsLandlng LhaL Lhe vlolaLlon has been commlLLed by persons acLlng
ln an offlclal capaclLy.'
41
Þaras 193-194
!"# %#&'(# )&* +",-.# /&0-1,23&-
45
,67#-8# &) 6,738 '*&8#10*,( .0,*,-2##7 &- 6&,*1 2"# 92,(3,- :#77#(7; <32"&02 <"38" 8&='(3,-8#
<32" !"!#$%&"'(%)%!* 8,--&2 6# .0,*,-2##1 >',*,? @A@B? /0*2"#*; 2"# 8&='(,3-27 *#(,23-. 2& C*238(#
D E+FG ,-1 C*238(# H &) %*&2&8&( I& H =072 6# 706J#82 2& 3-1#'#-1#-2 ,-1 *3.&*&07 78*023-K 6K ,
8&='#2#-2 ,02"&*32K ,-1 2"# *#=#1K ,:,3(,6(# =072 ",:# , 707'#-73:# #))#82? 9- 2"37 <,K; 2"#
'&77363(32K &) 8*3=3-,( '*&8##13-.7 3-723202#1 3- 92,(K ,)2#* 2"#3* ,**3:,( 3- L36K, ,.,3-72 2"# 3-:&(:#1
=3(32,*K '#*7&--#(; #:#- 32 <,7 '&7736(# 3- '*,8238#; <&0(1 -&2 7,237)K 2"# -#8#7732K &) , *#=#1K <32"
, 707'#-73:# #))#82?
H@


!"# +,$-, J01.=#-2 ",7 1&-# =08" 2& )(#7" &02 2"# '*,8238,( *,=3)38,23&-7 &) 2"# !"!#$%&"'(%)%!*
&6(3.,23&-? C731# )*&= 2"# 0-137'02#1 #M2*,2#**32&*3,(32K &) 2"# &6(3.,23&-; 2"# +&-80**3-. N'3-3&-
'38O7 0' &- 2"# 73.-3)38,-2 '*&8#10*,( ,7'#82 &) 2"# &6(3.,23&-? !"37 8(,*3)3#7 2"# 102K 2& ,1:37# ,-
,(3#- &) "37 *3."2 2& &62,3- 3-2#*-,23&-,( '*&2#823&- ,-1 2"# 102K 2& 8&-1082 ,- ,77#77=#-2 &) ,-K
*#(#:,-2 *#8#3:3-. 8&0-2*K 3- &*1#* 2& #-70*# 2",2 %/%! ,& 0-1(') 2(0,)- 0$% !"* )03% ,-K '#*7&-7
*#20*-#1 ,*# -&2 ,2 *37O &) 2&*20*# &* 3-"0=,- 2*#,2=#-2?


H@
G#)#*#-8# <,7 =,1# 2& 4"!50 /6 7%(8,'); -&? P4PQHRSS; E+FG @AA@!9?

19
ChapLer 3:
!"#$" "&' !"#$%&'"()&*&#+

1hls chapLer deals wlLh Lhe prlnclple and pracLlce of !"!#$%&"'(%)%!* ln MalLa. lL sLarLs wlLh a brlef
overvlew of Lhe conLexL before movlng on Lo dlscuss Lhe mosL perLlnenL legal provlslons under
naLlonal law and [udlclal lnLerpreLaLlons of Lhe same. ln Lhe Lhlrd parL lL presenLs key slLuaLlons
arlslng over Lhe pasL 11 years of $%&"'(%)%!* and places parLlcular emphasls on Lhe lncldenLs of
summer 2013. 1hls also lnforms Lhe dlscusslon underLaken ln ChapLer 3 on Lhe lmpllcaLlons of Lhe
non-refoulemenL prlnclples ln slLuaLlons such as Lhe +, ./(/)012

Whlle ln Lhe MalLese conLexL lssues relaLlng Lo $%&"'(%)%!* are mosL commonly cenLered around
scenarlos ouL aL sea, lL musL be sLressed aL Lhe ouLseL LhaL lndlvlduals are aL rlsk of $%&"'(%)%!*
from oLher polnLs of enLry (eg alrporLs and seaporLs) as well as from Lhe LerrlLory lLself. AppllcanLs
for asylum ln MalLa can be broadly dlvlded lnLo Lhe followlng groups:
1. Þeople arrlvlng on boaLs from Llbya. 1hls group by far makes up Lhe ma[orlLy of asylum seeker
numbers.
2. Þeople who apply for asylum dlrecLly Lo Lhe relevanL auLhorlLy. 1hls group lncludes people who
would have enLered legally buL Lhen oversLay Lhelr permlLLed Llme ln MalLa.
3. Þeople referred Lo Lhe 8efugee Commlsslon (8LlCCM) by Lhe lmmlgraLlon AuLhorlLles, alLhough
Lhese are of a llmlLed number. 1hls laLLer group ls noL large - c 20-23 per annum.
4. SLowaways. Whlle Lhe lnLernaLlonal MarlLlme CrganlzaLlon ls Lhe compeLenL organlzaLlon ln
Lhls area and Lhe lssue of sLowaways ls regulaLed by lMC Culdellnes, lssues relaLed Lo !"!#
$%&"'(%)%!* are sLlll appllcable ln Lhls area.
1he lssue of marlLlme mlgraLlon ls parLlcularly lmporLanL. 8eLween 2002 and 2013 over 16,800
poLenLlal asylum seekers arrlved ln MalLa on boaLs fleelng from Llbya. SLaLlsLlcs from Lhe Cfflce of
Lhe 8efugee Commlssloner lndlcaLe LhaL beLween 2008 and 2013
43
over 92° of asylum appllcanLs
(10,372 appllcanLs compared Lo 993 who had arrlved vla dlfferenL channels) reached MalLa by boaL.
1he aLLenLlon Lo Lhe marlLlme border ls also warranLed by Lhe exLenL of MalLa's search and rescue
reglon and lLs ensulng responslblllLles aL a mlnlmum Lo coordlnaLe Lhe search and rescue of persons
ln dlsLress aL sea.

43
1he numbers for 2013 are provlslonal as noL all appllcaLlons have been lnpuLLed yeL.
1he Þeople for Change loundaLlon
20
lL oughL Lo be clarlfled aL Lhls sLage LhaL lmmlgraLlon ConLrol responslblllLles are vesLed ln Lhe MalLa
Þollce lorce, lndeed, Lhe Commlssloner of Þollce ls Lhe Þrlnclpal lmmlgraLlon Cfflcer. AL sea, Lhese
powers are vesLed ln Lhe Armed lorces of MalLa, by vlrLue of Legal noLlce 66 of 1980.
44
ArLlcle 2 of
Lhe 8egulaLlons provldes LhaL:
ln Lhe performance of paLrol, guard or securlLy duLles or of duLles ln connecLlon wlLh
crlmlnal offences, asslgned Lo hlm by a Commander of Lhe Armed lorces of MalLa, wheLher
such duLles are performed on land, sea or alr, a member of Lhe Armed lorces of MalLa shall
be empowered Lo exerclse all such funcLlons, powers and duLles as are by law vesLed ln an
offlcer of Lhe CusLoms or ln a member of Lhe MalLa Þollce lorce
!"# $%& (&)*+ ,-*.&/0-1
1hls secLlon seeks Lo provlde a general overvlew of Lhe naLlonal legal framework on non-
!"#$%&"'"() and relaLed lssues. MalLa ls a ÞarLy Lo Lhe ConvenLlon relaLlng Lo Lhe SLaLus of
8efugees (8efugee ConvenLlon),
43
Lhe LCP8 and Lhe ConvenLlon agalnsL 1orLure and CLher Cruel,
lnhuman or uegradlng 1reaLmenL or ÞunlshmenL (1orLure ConvenLlon).
46
lnhuman or degradlng
LreaLmenL or punlshmenL ls prohlblLed under ArLlcle 36(1) of Lhe MalLese ConsLlLuLlon.
47


1hls ls furLher supporLed Lhe Luropean ConvenLlon AcL
48
whlch was enacLed ln 1987 Lo make
provlslon for Lhe subsLanLlve arLlcles of Lhe LCP8 Lo become and be enforceable as parL of Lhe Laws
of MalLa. ArLlcle 3 of Lhe llrsL Schedule repllcaLes Lhe correspondlng arLlcle ln Lhe ConvenLlon ln
provldlng LhaL:
no one shall be sub[ecLed Lo LorLure or Lo lnhuman or degradlng LreaLmenL or punlshmenL.


44
Legal noLlce 66 of 1980, as amended. Laws of MalLa
43
Ceneva, 28 !uly 1931, enLered lnLo force 22 Aprll 1934, 189 un1S 137 (8efugee ConvenLlon)
46
new ?ork, 10 uecember 1984, enLered lnLo force 26 !une 1987, 1463 un1S 83
47
ChapLer 1, Laws of MalLa.
48
ChapLer 319, Laws of MalLa
Access Lo ÞroLecLlon: A Puman 8lghL
21
1he obllgaLlon of !"!#$%&"'(%)%!*, as presenLed ln ArLlcle 33 of Lhe 8efugee ConvenLlon and ArLlcle
21 of Lhe CuallflcaLlon ulrecLlve
49
ls also enshrlned ln ArLlcle 14 of Lhe 8efugee AcL whlch provldes
LhaL:
A person shall noL be expelled from MalLa or reLurned ln any manner whaLsoever Lo Lhe
fronLlers of LerrlLorles where Lhe llfe or freedom of LhaL person would be LhreaLened on
accounL of hls race, rellglon, naLlonallLy, membershlp or a parLlcular soclal group or pollLlcal
oplnlon.
30


under Lhe Common SLandards and Þrocedures for 8eLurnlng lllegally SLaylng 1hlrd CounLry
naLlonals 8egulaLlons,
31
adopLed Lo Lranspose Lhe 8eLurns ulrecLlve
32
lnLo MalLese law, Lhe
Þrlnclpal lmmlgraLlon Cfflcer ls obllged Lo posLpone a removal lf lL, +!*%$ -(+-. vlolaLes Lhe prlnclple
of !"!#$%&"'(%)%!* or when an appeal agalnsL such removal has been made wlLh Lhe lmmlgraLlon
Appeals 8oard. 1hls posLponemenL ls for an 'approprlaLe perlod' declded accordlng Lo Lhe
clrcumsLances of Lhe parLlcular case. 1he regulaLlons do noL deflne Lhe Lerm $%&"'(%)%!* and can
Lherefore be Laken Lo refer Lo Lhe broader meanlng of Lhe Lerm under human rlghLs law (raLher
Lhan Lhe 'convenLlon-ground-speclflc' meanlng under Lhe Ceneva 8efugee ConvenLlon).

!"#$%&# (&)&*+,$ -&./0)+$/1,

1he lmmlgraLlon AcL
33
provldes LhaL any person who does noL have a rlghL of enLry lnLo MalLa may
be refused enLry and lf he lands or ls ln MalLa wlLhouL leave Lo enLer he ls Lo be consldered a
prohlblLed mlgranL.
34
under ArLlcle 14 of Lhe same AcL, Lhe Þrlnclpal lmmlgraLlon Cfflcer may lssue
a removal order agalnsL such person
33
whllsL Lhe person remalns under an obllgaLlon Lo leave MalLa
volunLarlly wlLhouL delay. 1he acL clarlfles LhaL reLurn may be elLher Lo Lhe counLry of orlgln or Lo

49
Councll ulrecLlve 2011/93/Lu on sLandards for Lhe quallflcaLlon of Lhlrd-counLry naLlonals or sLaLeless persons as
beneflclarles of lnLernaLlonal proLecLlon, for a unlform sLaLus for refugees or for persons ellglble for subsldlary
proLecLlon, and for Lhe conLenL of Lhe proLecLlon granLed (recasL) C! L337/9
30
ChapLer 420, Laws of MalLa. ArLlcle 14(2) runs as follows: 1he provlslons of subarLlcle (1) shall noL apply Lo a refugee
or a person en[oylng subsldlary proLecLlon ln respecL of whom Lhere are reasonable grounds for regardlng hlm as a
danger Lo Lhe securlLy of MalLa, or who, havlng been convlcLed by a flnal [udgmenL of a parLlcularly serlous crlme,
consLlLuLes a danger Lo Lhe communlLy.
31
Legal noLlce 81 of 2011, Laws of MalLa
32
Councll ulrecLlve 2008/113/LC on common sLandards and procedures ln Member SLaLes for reLurnlng lllegally sLaylng
Lhlrd-counLry naLlonals, C! L 348/98
33
ChapLer 217 of Lhe Laws of MalLa
34
ArLlcle 3 of Lhe lmmlgraLlon AcL, ChapLer 217 of Lhe Laws of MalLa
33
ArLlcle 14
1he Þeople for Change loundaLlon
22
such oLher counLry Lo whlch he may be permlLLed enLry.
36
1hls musL however be ln accordance Lo
lnLernaLlonal obllgaLlons Lo whlch MalLa may be parLy
37
and Lhe rlghL Lo order Lhe removal of an
lndlvldual ls wlLhouL pre[udlce Lo Lhe appllcaLlon of MalLese law on Lhe rlghL Lo asylum, Lhe rlghLs of
refugees and MalLa's lnLernaLlonal obllgaLlons ln Lhls regard.
38


A removal order may be appealed Lo Lhe lmmlgraLlon Appeals 8oard wlLhln 3 days of Lhe order
belng lssued.
39
A sLaLemenL Lo Lhls effecL ls also lncluded on Lhe copy of Lhe removal order glven Lo
Lhe lndlvldual. under ArLlcle 22 Lhe MlnlsLer responslble for mlgraLlon may lssue deporLaLlon orders
'lf he deems lL Lo be conduclve Lo Lhe publlc good'.
60
8y vlrLue of ArLlcle 17 of Lhe lmmlgraLlon AcL a
warranL lssued by Lhe MalLese CourLs under Lhe Code of CrganlzaLlon and Clvll Þrocedure, lncludlng
Lherefore warranLs of prohlblLory ln[uncLlon, are unable Lo obsLrucL or delay a deporLaLlon and Lhls
ls why, ln Lhe case of !uly 2013 (whlch wlll be presenLed laLer) an lnLerlm measure by Lhe LCLP8 was
requlred.

1he deLalls of such removals and a number of lmporLanL safeguards have now been promulgaLed
Lhrough Lhe 8eLurns 8egulaLlons Lo whlch reference has been made above. under ArLlcle 11(1) of
Lhe same regulaLlons however, a number of Lhe procedural safeguards, lncludlng regardlng Lhe
form LhaL Lhe removal order musL Lake and Lhe resLrlcLlons on Lhe duraLlon of deLenLlon do noL
apply Lo persons who are lnLercepLed whllsL Lrylng Lo lrregularly cross Lhe marlLlme or alr border
and who have noL subsequenLly obLalned an auLhorlsaLlon or a rlghL Lo sLay ln MalLa.

1he MalLese legal framework also provldes for lnformaLlon Lo be glven Lo asylum appllcanLs and for
Lhe rlghL Lo be asslsLed by a lawyer. 1hese relevanL legal provlslons are elaboraLed ln Lhe relevanL
secLlons of Lhls reporL.

!"#$ &"'

MalLese [urlsprudence on Lhe lssue of !"!#$%&"'(%)%!* ls llmlLed. 1wo ConsLlLuLlonal CourL
declslons ln 2013 reflecL Lhe CourL's poslLlon. nelLher of Lhese cases revolved around push-backs

36
ArLlcle 14(4)
37
lbld
38
ArLlcle 14(3)
39
ArLlcle 23A(7)
60
ArLlcle 22(1)
Access Lo ÞroLecLlon: A Puman 8lghL
23
occurrlng on Lhe hlgh seas buL raLher dealL wlLh cases of reLurns from Lhe LerrlLory. 1hey made,
however, a number of observaLlons and flndlngs whlch are of dlrecL relevance, lncludlng for
lnsLance, Lhe obllgaLlon of Lhe CovernmenL Lo ensure lL has lnformaLlon abouL Lhe slLuaLlon Lo
whlch an appllcanL ls Lo be reLurned. 1he Lwo [udgemenLs also reflecL Lhe rellance of Lhe MalLese
CourLs on Lhe flndlngs of Lhe LCLP8.

1he case of nossoo AbJolle AbJol noklm ít vs. Mlolstto 1ol Costlzzjo u loteto ít
61
was flrsL flled ln
ln 2007 (ClLazz[onl numru 36/2007) and declded by Lhe llrsL Pall of Lhe Clvll CourL on 29
Lh

november 2011 (l.e. before Lhe nltsl !udgmenL). 1he appeal (Appell Clvll number 36/2007/1) was
deLermlned by Lhe ConsLlLuLlonal CourL on 28 !une 2013, afLer Lhe LCP8 [udgmenL ln nltsl, and ln
facL Lhe ConsLlLuLlonal CourL refers Lo Lhe nltsl [udgmenL ln lLs deLermlnaLlons. 1he case lnvolved
Lwo Somall appllcanLs who were reLurned Lo Llbya wlLhouL belng glven Lhe opporLunlLy Lo seek
lnLernaLlonal proLecLlon.

1he ConsLlLuLlonal CourL noLed LhaL a reLurn of an lndlvldual would be ln vlolaLlon of ArLlcle 3 of Lhe
LCP8 when lL can be shown LhaL Lhere were subsLanLlal reasons for bellevlng LhaL Lhe person, lf
reLurned, faces a real rlsk of belng sub[ecLed Lo LreaLmenL conLrary Lo ArLlcle 3. 1hls LreaLmenL
musL meeL a mlnlmum Lhreshold of severlLy and musL be assessed wlLh regards Lo Lhe lnformaLlon
avallable abouL Lhe slLuaLlon ln Lhe appllcanL's poslLlon ln Lhe counLry Lo whlch Lhe reLurn ls
proposed. 1he relevanL Llme for Lhe assessmenL should be on Lhe daLe of Lhe removal.

1he CourL soughL Lo deLermlne noL only wheLher Lhe appllcanLs were ln facL LorLured, buL also
wheLher Lhe MalLese auLhorlLles knew, or should have known of Lhe llkellhood of Lhls LreaLmenL.
Cn Lhls polnL Lhe CourL, havlng assessed a slgnlflcanL number of sources presenLed Lo lL, concluded
LhaL Lhe reLurn happened aL a Llme when Lhe MalLese governmenL oughL Lo have known LhaL Lhey
faced a rlsk of LorLure or lnhuman or degradlng LreaLmenL, as well as Lhe posslblllLy of chaln
tefoolemeot Lo Somalla. 1hls ls an lmporLanL flndlng regardlng Lhe slLuaLlon ln Llbya, whlch has noL
lmproved ln any meanlngful way slnce Lhe reLurn had acLually happened. 1he CourL ln Lhls lnsLance
noLed LhaL, conslderlng Lhe naLure of Lhe alleged vlolaLlon, Lhe CovernmenL was expecLed Lo make

61
AbJol noklm nossoo AbJolle o b´ooto tol-15 to´ Novembto 2007 ut. Mlcboel comllletl ossomo l-ottl tol kowzo f´lsem l-
lstess AbJol noklm nossoo AbJolle o koslo lbtoblm Not o b´Jlqtlet tol-21 to´ ulcembto 2011 tol-ltlm´Awlo tol-Oottl clvlll
qle kottett qbol koslm lbtoblm Not o b´ooto tot-12 to´ Motzo 2012 l-lstess ut. Mlcboel comllletl ossomo l-ottl tol-kowzo
f´lsem l-lstess koslm lbtoblm Not v. Mlolstto tol-Costlzzjo o l-loteto, kommlssotjo tol-lollzljo fll-kopoclto´ tleqbo bbolo
ltloclpol lmmlqtotloo Offlcet´. (ClLazz[onl numru 36/2007) (Appell Clvll number 36/2007/1)
!"# %#&'(# )&* +",-.# /&0-1,23&-
45
,(( 2"# -#6#77,*8 6"#697 3- &*1#* 2& 1#2#*:3-# 2"# 7320,23&- 3- 2"# 6&0-2*8 2& ;"36" 2"# ,''(36,-27
;#*# 2& <# *#20*-#1= 2& ,6>03*# 2"# -#6#77,*8 ,770*,-6#7 ,<&02 2"#3* 2*#,2:#-2 3- ?3<8,= ,7 ;#(( ,7
2& :,9# ,**,-.#:#-27 2& #-70*# 2",2 2"# @&A#*-:#-2 6&0(1 :&-32&* ;",2 ",''#-7 2& 2"#
,''(36,-27 ,)2#* 2"#3* *#20*-B C- A3#; &) 2"# ),3(0*# &) 2"# ,02"&*323#7 2& 0-1#*2,9# ,-8 &) 2"#7#
:#,70*#7= 2"# +&0*2 )&0-1 2",2 2"# D,(2#7# @&A#*-:#-2 7"&0(1 ",A# 9-&;- ,<&02 2"# *3797 ),6#1
3- ?3<8,B !"# +&0*2 2"#*#)&*# '(,6#1 ,- #E'#62,23&- &- 2"# ,02"&*323#7 2& 2,9# '*&,623A# :#,70*#7
2& #-70*# 2",2 2"#8 ,*# ;#(( ,;,*# &) 2"# 7320,23&- 2& ;"36" 2"# 3-13A310,( 37 2& <# *#20*-#1B !"37
,(7& *#)(#627 2"# '&7323A# (#.,( &<(3.,23&-7 #:,-,23-. )*&: 2"# !"#$" F01.:#-2 2& ;"36" *#)#*#-6#
",7 ,(*#,18 <##- :,1# ,<&A#B

G-&2"#* 3770# ,11*#77#1 <8 2"# +&0*2 3- 2"37 6,7# 37 ;"#2"#* 2"#*# ",1 <##- ,- #))#623A# *#:#18
,A,3(,<(# 2& 2"# ,''(36,-2B !"# )3*72 +&0*2 ",1 )&0-1 2",2 2"# ,''(36,-27 ",1 -&2 <##- .3A#- ,-
,1#>0,2# &''&*20-328 2& 7##9 ,78(0:B !"# +&-7232023&-,( +&0*2 131 -&2 6&-)3*: 2"37 )3-13-.B
H4
!"#
+&0*2 131= "&;#A#* 723(( )3-1 , A3&(,23&- &) G*236(# IJ= :&72 -&2,<(8 <8 *#)#*#-6# 2& 2"# (,69 &) (#.,(
,77372,-6#B !"# +&0*2 -&2#1 2",2 ;"#- 2"# ,''(36,-2 &<F#62#1 2& <#3-. *#20*-#1 2& ?3<8,= "# ;,7
-&2 '*&A31#1 ;32" (#.,( ,77372,-6# &* ,-8 &2"#* &''&*20-328 2& 6&-2#72 "37 *#20*-B !"# +&0*2 )&0-1 ,
A3&(,23&- &) G*236(# IJ #A#- 2"&0." 2"# ,''(36,-2 ",1 -#A#* *,37#1 2&*20*# &* 6",3- #&'()*&+&,- ,7
2"# *#,7&- ;"8 "# 131 -&2 ;37" 2& *#20*-B !"# +&0*2 )&0-1 2",2 32 6&0(1 -&2 <# #E6(01#1 2",2= ",1
"# <##- .3A#- 2"# *3."2 (#.,( ,77372,-6#= "# ;&0(1 ",A# ",1 ,- ,*.0,<(# 6(,3: 0-1#* G*236(# JB !"37=
2"# +&0*2 )&0-1= ,:&0-2#1 2& , A3&(,23&- &) G*236(# IJB

%*&6#10*,((8= 2"# +&-7232023&-,( +&0*2 *0(#1 2",2 2"# +&::3773&-#* &) %&(36#= 3- "37 6,',6328 ,7
%*3-63',( C::3.*,23&- K))36#*= ;,7 2"# *3."2 *#'*#7#-2,23A# &) 2"# @&A#*-:#-2 )&* 2"# '0*'&7# &)
2"# 6,7#= ,-1 2"#*#)&*# ,((&;#1 2"# ,''#,( <8 2"# D3-372#* )&* L07236# ,-1 M&:# G)),3*7 2",2 2"#
D3-372#* &0."2 -&2 2& <# , ',*28 2& 2"# F01.:#-2B !"37 ;,7 1#2#*:3-#1 3- ,66&*1,-6# ;32" G*236(#
INIO &) 2"# +&1# &) K*.,-3P,23&- ,-1 +3A3( %*&6#10*#B C- :,93-. 2"37 )3-13-.= 2"# +&0*2 *#A#*7#1 2"#
1#6373&- &) 2"# /3*72 M,(( ;"36" "#(1 2",2 2"# D3-372#* ;,7 , *#(#A,-2 ',*28 2& 2"# 6,7# ,7 , *#70(2 &)
2"# 6*3236,( *&(# 2",2 2"# D3-372*8 '(,87 3- :3.*,23&- :,-,.#:#-2 ,-1 7'#63)36,((8 3- 2"#
1#2#*:3-,23&- &) ,78(0: 6(,3:7B


H4
%,*,B NQ
Access Lo ÞroLecLlon: A Puman 8lghL
23
1he CourL furLher concluded agalnsL Lhe suggesLlon of Lhe CovernmenL LhaL a flndlng of a human
rlghLs vlolaLlon was alone sufflclenL remedy, and ordered Lhe paymenL of damages of 6000 Luros Lo
one parLy and 10, 000 Lo Lhe oLher, Lhe former belng a reducLlon from 10,000 Luros ordered by Lhe
llrsL Pall of Lhe Clvll CourL.

ln 2013, Lhe ConsLlLuLlonal CourL also heard anoLher case whereln vlolaLlons of ArLlcle 3 and 8 were
argued. 1hls Llme, Lhe appllcanLs were 1urklsh naLlonals of kurdlsh orlgln who had been Lhrough
Lhe asylum process buL whose clalm was denled.
63
1he CourL ln LhaL case noLed LhaL whlle Lhe LCP8
dld noL lnclude a rlghL Lo asylum, lL dld proLecL, wlLhln Lhe conLexL of ArLlcle 3, from Lhe reLurn Lo a
counLry where one faces a serlous rlsk of LorLure and oLher cruel and lnhumane LreaLmenL. 1he
CourL ln Lhls case found LhaL Lhe rlsk of an ArLlcle 3 vlolaLlon can emanaLe from non-sLaLe acLors,
buL ln such cases lL ls up Lo Lhe appllcanL Lo prove LhaL Lhere ls a real rlsk and LhaL Lhe SLaLe ls
unable or unwllllng Lo offer proLecLlon. 1he posslblllLy of harsh LreaLmenL because of Lhe general
lnsLablllLy ln Lhe counLry does noL, alone, merlL a flndlng of an ArLlcle 3 vlolaLlon. 1he CourL
however dld flnd a posslble vlolaLlon of ArLlcle 3 when conslderlng Lhe speclflc facLs of Lhe case
lncludlng Lhe appllcanL and hls famlly's lnvolvemenL ln kurdlsh pollLlcal groups. Cf parLlcular
relevance ls Lhe flndlng of Lhe CourL LhaL 1urkey's sLaLus as a ÞarLy Lo Lhe LCP8 was lrrelevanL Lo
Lhe deLermlnaLlon ln LhaL whllsL lL was under an obllgaLlon Lo ensure LhaL LreaLmenL conLrary Lo
ArLlcle 3 dld noL occur, Lhe evldence lndlcaLed a real rlsk of such LreaLmenL upon reLurn.
64

!"# !"#$%&'"() %&'( )*+,*-
MalLa has, so far, never been lnvolved ln push-back measures of Lhe naLure descrlbed ln Lhe !"#$"
case. Powever Lhe lssue of #%&'()%*%+, has arlsen on a number of occaslons slnce 2002 and Lhese
are brlefly presenLed here.

./,0&12 ,' 3&4,&/* 5 #66#
ln 2002 MalLa deporLed some 230 lndlvlduals Lo LrlLrea. lnLernaLlonal human rlghLs organlzaLlon
AmnesLy lnLernaLlonal collecLed sLorles from Lhe deporLees. lL found LhaL many of Lhem had been
rounded up, lmprlsoned and LorLured aL Lhe hands of Lhe LrlLrean auLhorlLles upon Lhelr reLurn.
Cne escaped deLalnee sald: º1here were lnLerrogaLlon rooms and we were belng called one aL a

63
!"#$% '()(*+ '$,"- .#" '()(*+ '$,/(, '()(* 01 2"*"34,5 4(#-!"#$%&&'( " *-!"#$%"& (-!""#$%&' )*+'# ,&'- lmmlgrazz[onl (Appell
Clvlll numru. 6/2008/1)
64
Þara.39
1he Þeople for Change loundaLlon
26
Llme, wlLh Lwo guards, one asklng Lhe quesLlons, Lhe oLher dolng Lhe beaLlng."
63
Many of Lhe
reLurnees were reporLedly held lncommunlcado for years afLer Lhe reLurn. lndeed Lhe faLe suffered
by Lhe lndlvlduals deporLed from MalLa was of such gravlLy LhaL Lhelr sLorles, as recounLed by
AmnesLy lnLernaLlonal and oLhers, were used Lo argue agalnsL Lhe deporLaLlon of asylum seekers Lo
LrlLrea noL only from MalLa buL also from oLher counLrles.
66


!"#$%&' #) *+,-. / 0112
1hls lncldenL ls Lhe one sub[ecL Lo Lhe ConsLlLuLlonal CourL declslon Lo whlch reference has been
made above. A group of 24 mlgranLs arrlved ln MalLa ln 2004 afLer a MalLese paLrol boaL
lnLercepLed Lhe boaL on whlch Lhey were Lravelllng LogeLher wlLh anoLher 24 lndlvlduals. 6
members of Lhe group were reLurned Lo Llbya afLer 20 days of belng deLalned aL Lhe Þollce
headquarLers. uurlng LhaL Llme Lhey were noL glven Lhe opporLunlLy Lo apply for asylum or Lo speak
Lo a represenLaLlve of Lhe unPC8. 1helr complalnLs abouL belng reLurned Lo Llbya were noL heeded
and Lhey were noL glven access Lo legal asslsLance. 1here ls no lnformaLlon as Lo why Lhese 6
members of Lhe group were ldenLlfled for reLurn.

1he CourL heard accounLs by Lhe appllcanLs of LorLure and lll LreaLmenL ln Llbya, lncludlng beaLlngs
and LorLure, belng hlL repeaLedly and belng elecLrocuLed. AfLer an lnlLlal perlod of Lhls, Lhey were
lmprlsoned for a year afLer whaL appears Lo have been a qulck and procedurally unsound Lrlal. ln
prlson Lhey agaln faced beaLlngs and LorLure. 1he condlLlons ln Lhe prlson were lnhumane,
lncludlng havlng a slngle LolleL and shower for 30 persons, lack of wlndows and an lnfesLaLlon of
lnsecLs. ln november 2003, Lhey were drlven ouL Lo Lhe deserL and lefL Lhere. Some of Lhe people
who were wlLh Lhem succumbed Lo Lhe condlLlons ln Lhe deserL buL Lhe appllcanLs managed Lo
survlve afLer Lhey were asslsLed by some local people. 1wo members of Lhe group goL Lo 1rlpoll and
made Lhelr way back Lo MalLa ln !une 2006.

!"'3$" .# 4". 5 0161
1hese lncldenLs all lnvolved lndlvlduals who were broughL Lo Lhe LerrlLory and Lhen reLurned Lo
anoLher counLry afLer Lhelr dlsembarkaLlon. 1he only case where tefoolemeot arose as an lssue

63
AmnesLy lnLernaLlonal 'íkl1kíA. '¥oo bove oo tlqbt to osk' - Covetomeot teslsts sctotloy oo bomoo tlqbts´ Al lndex:
Al8 64/003/2004 avallable onllne aL: hLLp://www.amnesLy.org/en/llbrary/lnfo/Al864/003/2004
66
See for lnsLance: 5í (uepottotloo - Molto - 2002 - Ceoetol klsk) ítltteo v. 5ectetoty of 5tote fot tbe nome
uepottmeot, CC [2004] uklA1 00293, unlLed klngdom: Asylum and lmmlgraLlon 1rlbunal / lmmlgraLlon AppellaLe
AuLhorlLy, 29 CcLober 2004
Access Lo ÞroLecLlon: A Puman 8lghL
27
from acLlvlLles carrled ouL aL sea concerned a group of 33 Somalls who had lefL Llbya and were
rescued aL sea from a vessel ln dlsLress by MalLese and Llbyan auLhorlLles. A group of Lhe rescues
were lmmedlaLely reLurned Lo Llbya, whlle 28 oLhers were Laken Lo MalLa. lnformaLlon abouL Lhls
case ls unclear, however, Lhe declslon as Lo who would be dlsembarked where appears Lo have
been !" $%& and arblLrary. lL ls uncerLaln whaL crlLerla, lf any, were used Lo declde who would be
reLurned Lo whlch counLry.
67
1he lundamenLal 8lghLs Agency reporLs how Lhe mlgranLs LhoughL
LhaL Lhe second vessel was lLallan and were laLer prevenLed from leavlng Lhe resculng Llbyan vessel
and reLurn Lo Lhelr own boaL. l8A reporLs how Lhe MalLese auLhorlLles denled LhaL any decepLlon
was lnvolved ln Lhe lncldenL, noLlng LhaL desplLe lL belng dark, Lhe Llbyan flag was vlslble. lL also
quoLes a Somall mlgranL who was on Lhe boaL recounLlng how Lhose on Lhe boaL were Lrlcked lnLo
bellevlng LhaL Lhe Llbyan vessel was acLually an lLallan vessel. 1he flnal resulL was LhaL some of Lhe
mlgranLs were broughL Lo MalLa whllsL oLhers were reLurned Lo Llbya.
68


" #$%& '()*

lnsofar as concerns Lhe push-backs whlch were Lhe sub[ecL of Lhe '()*( [udgmenL (alLhough, as
noLed above, MalLa had never formally endorsed Lhe push-back sysLem), pollLlcal sLaLemenLs
followlng '()*( lndlcaLed LhaL even Lhough reLurn Lo Llbya was noL ldeal, lL was acLually posslble.
69

Powever, Lhe summer of 2013 broughL wlLh lL an evenL whlch LesLed MalLa's lnLerpreLaLlon of
currenL obllgaLlons of +%+,)-.%/0-1-+2 and called for an appllcaLlon of Lhe '()*( [udgmenL as lL
concerned Lhe same arLlcles (ArLlcles 3, 13 and ArLlcle 4 of ÞroLocol no 4 Lo Lhe LCP8). 1he
dlfference was LhaL ln Lhls case, Lhe mlgranLs were already on MalLese LerrlLory.
70



67
See furLher: Luropean Agency for lundamenLal 8lghLs, lundamenLal 8lghLs aL Lurope's SouLhern Sea 8orders' (March
2013) 48, avallable onllne: hLLp://fra.europa.eu/en/publlcaLlon/2013/fundamenLal-rlghLs-europes-souLhern-sea-
borders, 'AmnesLy lnLernaLlonal, 'Seeklng SafeLy, llndlng lear: 8efugees, Asylum-Seekers and MlgranLs ln Llbya and
MalLa' (uecember 2010) avallable onllne:
hLLp://www.amnesLy.org/en/llbrary/asseL/8LC01/004/2010/en/d0e71b60-71ec-4c4b-8b2f-
d03a881b90f6/reg010042010en.pdf
68
lbld p.48
69
8ef: k Sansone, 'Sendlng mlgranLs back ls 'noL wrong'' 3(1-* %. 4!02!, 23 !une 2012, k Sansone, 'WaLchdog surprlsed
by MalLa's supporL for mlgranL pushbacks' 3(1-* %. 4!02!, 30 !une 2012.
70
AmnesLy lnLernaLlonal, 'MalLa: CollecLlve Lxpulslons, Þush-backs and vlolaLlng Lhe non-8efoulemenL Þrlnclple are
never an CpLlon' Al lndex: Lu8 33/001/2013, 12 !uly 2013, avallable onllne:
hLLp://amnesLy.org/en/llbrary/asseL/Lu833/001/2013/en/94da229b-24d2-409c-83ca-
22bd42aaadef/eur330012013en.pdf.

28
Cn 9
Lh
!uly, 102 Somall mlgranLs were lnLercepLed by Lhe Armed lorces of MalLa and broughL Lo
MalLa. 1he unPC8 and varlous nCCs were denled access Lo Lhe mlgranLs who were kepL aL Þollce
PeadquarLers, wlLh Lhe women and chlldren laLer belng Lransferred Lo a deLenLlon cenLre.
lollowlng reporLs LhaL a number of male mlgranLs were Lo be LransporLed Lo Llbya LhaL same
evenlng on Lwo fllghLs (deparLlng aL mldnlghL and 4 am), Lhe Þeople for Change loundaLlon and Lhe
!esulL 8efugee Servlce, supporLed by a number of MalLese nCCs, flled a requesL wlLh Lhe LCLP8 for
an lnLerlm measure under ArLlcle 39 of Lhe LCP8. lL argued for Lhe CourL Lo order MalLa Lo refraln
from deporLlng Lhe lndlvlduals as Lhls would resulL ln a breach of ArLlcles 3 and 13 of Lhe LCP8 and
of ArLlcle 4 of ÞroLocol 4 Lo Lhe LCP8.
71
69 lawyers also flled a naLlonal [udlclal proLesL seeklng Lo
halL Lhe push-back. 1he requesL before Lhe LCLP8 relled heavlly on Lhe [udgmenL ln !"#$"% as well as
on Lhe MalLese ConsLlLuLlonal courL declslon dlscussed above.

1he CourL accepLed Lhe requesL and lssued Lhe lnLerlm measure prevenLlng Lhe deporLaLlon.
72
1he
Lu Pome Affalrs Commlssloner, Cecllla MalmsLröm, was also clear on Lhe facL LhaL any reLurn
operaLlon has Lo proLecL agalnsL '(')#*+(,-*.*'/ and acknowledge LhaL anyone arrlvlng ln an Lu
LerrlLory may flle an asylum requesL and have a proper assessmenL of Lhelr slLuaLlon.
73
lndeed, Lhe
MalLese CovernmenL sLaLed LhaL lL would respecL Lhe CourL's declslon and, ln answer Lo quesLlons
ralsed by Lhe LCP8, lL sLaLed LhaL no flnal declslon had been Laken regardlng repaLrlaLlon of Lhe
Somall mlgranLs aL Lhe Llme Lhe CourL had lssued lLs order.
74
A follow-up case has been flled wlLh
Lhe Luropean CourL of Puman 8lghLs and has been communlcaLed Lo Lhe parLles.
73

!"# !" $%&%'() %&'()#&* + ,-./
Cn 4
Lh
AugusL 2013, a Llberlan-reglsLered Lanker, Lhe 01 23-3."$, recelved lnsLrucLlons from Lhe
MarlLlme 8escue CoordlnaLlon CenLre (M8CC) 8ome Lo respond Lo a dlsLress slLuaLlon wlLhln Lhe
Llbyan Search and 8escue (SA8) Area, clrca 46 nauLlcal mlles (nm) from Llbya and 140 nm from
MalLa. SubsequenLly, wlLh 102 mlgranLs on board, lncludlng 4 pregnanL women, a flve-monLh-old

71
See furLher, AmnesLy lnLernaLlonal, 'MalLa: CollecLlve expulslons, push-backs and vlolaLlng Lhe '(')#*+(,-*.*'/
prlnclple are never an opLlon' Lu8 33/001/2013, 12 !uly 2013.
72
4 3'5 6/7*#$ 89 03-/3, AppllcaLlon no. 43983/13
73
9
Lh
!uly MLMC 8ef: MLMC/13/676 'MalLa conslderlng Þush-8acks: SLaLemenL by Pome Affalrs Commlssloner, Cecllla
MalmsLrom' 8ef: hLLp://europa.eu/rapld/press-release_MLMC-13-676_en.hLm.
74
'MlgranL Þushbacks: 'no flnal declslon was Laken', MalLa Lells SLrasbourg CourL' 03-/3 :(53; 31 !uly 2013
hLLp://www.malLaLoday.com.mL/en/newsdeLalls/news/naLlonal/MlgranLs-pushback-no-flnal-declslon-was-Laken-
MalLa-Lells-SLrasbourg-courL-20130731#LL11L8
73
Abdl Ahmed and oLhers agalnsL MalLa, lodged on 9 !uly 2013, AppllcaLlon no. 43983/13.
Access Lo ÞroLecLlon: A Puman 8lghL
29
baby and an ln[ured woman, 8ome M8CC lnsLrucLed Lhe MasLer Lo reLurn Lo khoms ln Llbya, as Lhe
nearesL porL of safeLy. Powever, Lhe MasLer falled Lo heed lLaly's lnsLrucLlons and proceeded on
Lhe vessel's lnlLlal rouLe Lowards MalLa. Cn approachlng MalLa, Lhe MasLer was prevenLed enLry ln
order Lo dlsembark Lhe rescued mlgranLs, and was blockaded [usL ouLslde Lhe lsland's conLlguous
zone. 1he mlgranLs on board recelved food and waLer supplles from Lhe Armed lorced of MalLa
(AlM), as well as medlcal ald. Members of Lhe AlM boarded Lhe !" $%&%'(), no evacuaLlons were
consldered necessary. A noL-uncommon sLalemaLe beLween lLaly and MalLa followed, unLll Lhe
announcemenL on 7
Lh
AugusL, by Lhe MalLese CovernmenL LhaL lLaly had agreed Lo provlde for Lhe
dlsembarkaLlon of Lhe mlgranLs and LhaL Lhe Lanker was headed Loward Syracuse, ln Slclly, for
dlsembarkaLlon of Lhe rescuees.
76




76
See for more deLalls: hLLp://www.pfcmalLa.org/mlgranL-arrlvals-2013.hLml

30
ChapLer 4:
!"#$%& ()*+%",# %- +..)&& %- /(-%).%"-, +,0 /(-.)01(+* #1+(+,%))&

As noLed elsewhere ln Lhls reporL, Lhe LCLP8 wenL furLher Lhan merely re-afflrmlng Lhe prohlblLlon
of !"#$%&"'"() ln lLs [udgmenL. lL also ldenLlfled a number of poslLlve obllgaLlons LhaL emanaLe
from Lhe prohlblLlon. 1hese lnclude Lhe duLy on Lhe SLaLe Lo provlde lnformaLlon abouL Lhe
posslblllLy of seeklng lnLernaLlonal proLecLlon, Lhe provlslon of legal asslsLance and language
lnLerpreLaLlon, as well as Lhe duLy Lo ensure LhaL Lhere are effecLlve remedles Lo challenge Lhe
reLurn of lndlvlduals Lo counLrles where Lhey rlsk faclng human rlghLs vlolaLlons. 1hls chapLer brlefly
explores how Lhese obllgaLlons are addressed ln MalLese law and pracLlce.

234 51%6 %- /(-7"0) ",8-(9+%"-,
1he rlghL Lo obLaln lnformaLlon abouL Lhe asylum process ls well esLabllshed ln MalLese law. 1he
AppllcaLlon for a ueclaraLlon 8egulaLlons
77
provlde LhaL a person seeklng asylum ln MalLa shall be
lnLervlewed by an lmmlgraLlon offlcer as soon as pracLlcable afLer he has made an lnlLlal requesL,
verbally or ln wrlLlng, Lo apply for asylum ln MalLa.
78
1hls lmmlgraLlon offlcer shall lnform Lhe
asylum seeker, where posslble ln a language LhaL Lhe person undersLands, or, where necessary,
wlLh Lhe asslsLance of an lnLerpreLer, LhaL he may apply for a declaraLlon for refugee sLaLus.

1he regulaLlons also elucldaLe furLher lnformaLlon LhaL musL be provlded lncludlng Lhe
confldenLlallLy of lnformaLlon provlded, Lhe rlghL Lo be asslsLed by a lawyer LhroughouL Lhe asylum
procedures, Lhe rlghL Lo conLacL unPC8 and Lhe rlghL Lo presenL hls/her case fully and Lo make any
submlsslons Lo Lhe 8efugee Commlssloner.
79
lnformaLlon should also be provlded regardlng Lhe
appllcanL's obllgaLlon Lo fully co-operaLe wlLh Lhe sLaLus deLermlnaLlon processes and Lo furnlsh
any lnformaLlon relevanL Lo hls appllcaLlon, and LhaL an un[usLlfled refusal on hls parL Lo furnlsh any
lnformaLlon requesLed by Lhe 8efugee Commlssloner or Lo co-operaLe fully wlLh Lhe auLhorlLles
may lead Lo Lhe suspenslon or LermlnaLlon of Lhe asylum procedures wlLh regards Lo boLh hls
appllcaLlon and, where appllcable, Lo LhaL of any dependenL member of hls famlly.
80


77
Legal noLlce 233 of 2001, Laws of MalLa
78
ArLlcle 3(1)
79
ArLlcle 3(2)
80
ArLlcle 4

31
8eyond Lhe provlslon of lnformaLlon, Lhe sald lmmlgraLlon offlcer ls requlred by Lhe regulaLlons Lo
asslsL Lhe appllcanL ln fllllng Lhe prescrlbed appllcaLlon form for a declaraLlon, where necessary wlLh
Lhe asslsLance of an lnLerpreLer.
81
Coples of Lhe form and any wrlLLen sLaLemenLs llnked LhereLo are
Lo be senL Lo Lhe 8efugee Commlssloner, Lhe appllcanL and Lhe unPC8.
Accordlng Lo Lhe Þrocedural SLandards 8egulaLlons,
82
Lhe appllcanL shall be lnformed ln a language
whlch he may reasonably be supposed Lo undersLand of Lhe procedure Lo be followed and of hls
rlghLs and obllgaLlons durlng Lhe procedure, abouL Lhe posslble consequences of noL complylng
wlLh hls obllgaLlons and noL cooperaLlng wlLh Lhe auLhorlLles, of Lhe Llmeframe as well as Lhe
means aL hls dlsposal for fulfllllng Lhe obllgaLlon Lo submlL Lhe elemenLs requlred, of hls rlghL Lo
consulL Lhe Plgh Commlssloner and Lo have legal asslsLance durlng all Lhe phases of Lhe asylum
procedure. 1hls lnformaLlon ls Lo be glven ln sufflclenL Llme Lo enable Lhe appllcanL Lo exerclse Lhe
rlghLs guaranLeed and Lo comply wlLh Lhe obllgaLlons prescrlbed by law. AppllcanLs are also Lo be
advlsed on how and where he may make an appllcaLlon for proLecLlon as well as Lo be provlded
wlLh asslsLance, where necessary, ln Lhe forwardlng of Lhe appllcaLlon Lo Lhe 8efugee
Commlssloner.
83

1he lnformaLlon glven by Lhe lmmlgraLlon Þollce ls communlcaLed Lhrough a bookleL avallable only
ln Lngllsh. 1he bookleL conLalns lnformaLlon abouL Lhe rlghLs and obllgaLlons of asylum seekers and
ls provlded lmmedlaLely upon arrlval ln MalLa (or upon dlsembarkaLlon). 1he Cfflce of Lhe 8efugee
Commlssloner has also been acLlvely engaged wlLh Lhe provlslon of lnformaLlon abouL Lhe process.
8epresenLaLlves of Lhe offlce communlcaLe lnformaLlon usually wlLhln days of arrlval Lhrough vlslLs
ln deLenLlon cenLers. 1hey prlmarlly dellver lnformaLlon abouL Lhe asylum procedure. A brlef
lnLroducLlon by a represenLaLlve of Lhe offlce, asslsLed by a LranslaLor, ls followed by an audlo-
vlsual presenLaLlon avallable ln Lhe 11 mosL commonly-used languages by asylum seekers ln MalLa.
A LranscrlpL of Lhe presenLaLlon, also ln Lhe 11 languages ls also provlded. lnformal sources of
lnformaLlon also exlsL lncludlng vla access Lo unPC8 and nCC represenLaLlves.

As hlghllghLed, Lhe glvlng of lnformaLlon Lo Lhose mlgranLs wlLhln Lhe LerrlLory ls now well
esLabllshed ln naLlonal law. Powever, ln pracLlce Lhe slLuaLlon regardlng Lhe provlslon of
lnformaLlon aL Lhe marlLlme border ls less clear. ÞarLlclpanLs ln Lhe sLakeholder roundLable

81
ArLlcle 4
82
Legal noLlce 243 of 2008, Laws of MalLa
83
ArLlcle 4

32
organlzed wlLhln Lhe conLexL of Lhls pro[ecL remarked upon Lhe pracLlcal challenges LhaL Lhe
provlslon of lnformaLlon wlLhln Lhe conLexL of a rescue or lnLercepLlon operaLlon would enLall.
84
A
corollary Lo Lhe rlghL of Lhe lndlvldual Lo be lnformed of hls rlghL Lo seek asylum ls Lhe obllgaLlon on
Lhe parL of offlclals lnvolved ln posslble removal Lo be lnformed abouL Lhe slLuaLlon ln Lhe counLry
Lo whlch reLurns are Lo be affecLed. ln pracLlce, Lhe glvlng of lnformaLlon as requlred by Lhe LCLP8
ln !"#$" and by Lhe procedural sLandards regulaLlons assumes Lhe dlsembarkaLlon of lndlvlduals
wlLhln Lhe LerrlLory.

!"# $%&' &) *+),-./ -0&/+*+/&-01 2/+,-3/2 40. 5/145 4.,-2/+2
MalLese law provldes for Lhe rlghL Lo be lnformed abouL Lhe seL rlghLs and enLlLlemenLs ln a
language LhaL Lhe appllcanL ls llkely Lo undersLand and Lo apply for asylum Lhrough a form LhaL, as
far as posslble, shall all be ln a language whlch Lhe appllcanL undersLands. WhllsL Lhese safeguards
appear Lo focus on Lhe polnL when Lhe appllcanL ls already ln Lhe process of applylng, Lhey also
exLend Lo such Llme as Lhe lndlvldual ls belng lnformed of hls rlghL Lo seek asylum. 1he Þrocedural
SLandards 8egulaLlons
83
provlde LhaL asylum seekers are be granLed Lhe servlces of an lnLerpreLer
for submlLLlng hls case Lo Lhe compeLenL auLhorlLles whenever necessary.

As noLed above, Lhe lnformaLlon provlded by Lhe Cfflce of Lhe 8efugee Commlssloner ls provlded ln
mulLlple languages, whllsL however, Lhe lnformaLlon dlsLrlbuLed by Lhe lmmlgraLlon Þollce ls only
provlded ln Lngllsh. 1he removal order, whlch also brlefly ouLllnes Lhe rlghL Lo appeal from Lhe
same, ls only provlded ln Lhe Lngllsh language, an lssue of parLlcular concern when one noLes LhaL
Lhe Llme Lo appeal Lhe order ls llmlLed Lo 3 days.

Accordlng Lo Lhe Þrocedural SLandards 8egulaLlons, an appllcanL for asylum may be asslsLed by a
legal represenLaLlve aL all sLages of hls asylum process. AL flrsL lnsLance, Lhls ls aL Lhe appllcanL's
own expense whllsL aL appeal legal ald ls avallable on Lhe same condlLlons as MalLese naLlonals.
86

Access Lo legal ald aL Lhe prellmlnary sLages of one's asylum clalm ls dlfflculL conslderlng LhaL mosL
mlgranLs rescued and lnLercepLed aL sea are deLalned lmmedlaLely upon arrlval ln MalLa. Some
nCCs offer legal asslsLance Lo deLalnees, aL leasL Lhrough Lhe provlslon for furLher lnformaLlon.

84
lor more lnformaLlon abouL Lhe roundLable see: hLLp://www.pfcmalLa.org/access-Lo-proLecLlon-a-human-rlghL.hLml
83
Legal noLlce 243 of 2008
86
ArLlcle 4(2)(lv)

33


As wlLh Lhe above, lL ls pracLlcally lmplauslble Lo expecL LhaL lnLerpreLaLlon servlces and legal
asslsLance can be made avallable on an lnLercepLlng or resculng vessel. 1hls furLher encourages an
lnLerpreLaLlon of Lhe [udgmenL as !" $%&'( requlrlng dlsembarkaLlon on Lhe LerrlLory of Lhe SLaLe.
lndeed Lhe leglslaLlon and case law as dlscussed LhroughouL Lhls reporL all appear Lo assume Lhe
presence of Lhe asylum appllcanL on Lhe LerrlLory. 1hls, coupled wlLh Lhe prohlblLlon of
)"$(*+","-', clearly lmplles Lhe need Lo allow dlsembarkaLlon.
87



!"# $%&' &) &*+,- &./ 0/*1)--/2
1ralnlng of border guards ln MalLa ls underLaken wlLhln Lhe conLexL of Lhe regular Lralnlng
underLaken by Lhe MalLa Þollce lorce and Lhe Armed lorces of MalLa. 1he Þollce lorce has a pollce
academy charged wlLh provldlng educaLlon and Lralnlng Lo Lhe pollce, boLh before and durlng acLlve
servlce. lnformaLlon from Lhe academy llsLs pollce responslblllLles ln Lhe area of asylum as one of
Lhe maln areas of sLudy aL Lhe academy, whllsL lL provldes lnLernaLlonal courses on border conLrol
and securlLy.
88


1he lundamenLal 8lghLs Agency found LhaL no parLlcular speclallzed course for border
managemenL appears Lo exlsL ln MalLa and reporLs how ln MalLa, fronL-llne border guards can, aL
leasL ln prlnclple, be deployed on border conLrol duLles lmmedlaLely afLer flnlshlng Lhelr general
Lralnlng and wlLhouL havlng recelved any speclallsed Lralnlng. Accordlng Lo Lhe l8A, Lhe MalLa
Þollce lorce had underLaken lmplemenLaLlon of Lhe Common Core Currlculum buL Lhe Armed
lorces of MalLa had noL. 1he reporL also hlghllghLs LhaL Lhe baslc human rlghLs Lralnlng focuses on
regular pollce Lasks raLher Lhan on speclflc lssues relaLlng Lo Lhe rlghLs of mlgranLs. Law professors
Lyplcally dellver Lhe Lralnlng LhaL appears Lo be pracLlcally-orlenLed.
89
ÞarLlclpanLs aL Lhe naLlonal

"#
lL ls generally recommended LhaL sLaLus deLermlnaLlon procedures are besL deLermlned by Lhe approprlaLe
auLhorlLles on land where access Lo lnLerpreLers and legal counsel may be assured. 1hls ls Lhe poslLlon Laken by Lhe
unPC8, alLhough lL does noL exclude Lhe posslblllLy of onboard processlng ln cerLaln llmlLed clrcumsLances. 8ef:
unPC8, '8ackground noLe on Lhe ÞroLecLlon of Asylum Seekers and 8efugees 8escued aL Sea' Ceneva, 2002, paras 23-
24. 1he lMC also advocaLes Lhls, see: lMC, 'Þrlnclples relaLlng Lo AdmlnlsLraLlve Þrocedures for ulsembarklng Þersons
8escued aL Sea,' lAL.3/Clrc.194 (22 !anuary 2009). ln Lhls regard, see furLher 1.A. Alelnlkoff and v. CheLall (eds),
./0)%'/(- %-! 1-'")-%'/(-%+ 2"0%+ 3(),4 (1he Pague, 1MC Asser Þress, 2003), 143-144.
88
See ln Lhls regard: hLLps://www.cepol.europa.eu/lndex.php?ld=malLa
89
See furLher: Luropean Agency for lundamenLal 8lghLs, lundamenLal 8lghLs aL Lurope's SouLhern Sea 8orders' (March
2013) 48, avallable onllne: hLLp://fra.europa.eu/en/publlcaLlon/2013/fundamenLal-rlghLs-europes-souLhern-sea-
borders

"#
$%&'()*+,- %$.*'/0-( 1/)2/' )2- 3%')-4) %5 )2/6 7$%8-3) '%)-( )2- /'9%,9-:-') %5 )2- ;55/3- %5 )2-
<-5&.-- =%::/66/%'-$ /' )2- )$*/'/'. %5 /::/.$*)/%' 7%,/3->

!"! #$$%&'()% +%,%-(%.
?' )2-%$@A * '&:+-$ %5 $-:-(/-6 -4/6) /' )2- 3*6- %5 $-)&$'> B%1-9-$A *.*/'A /) /6 (/55/3&,) )% 6-- 2%1
*'@ %5 )2-6- 3*' +- :*(- *9*/,*+,- /' )2- 3%')-4) %5 /')-$9-')/%'6 *) 6-* 1/)2%&) 5/$6) -'6&$/'.
(/6-:+*$C*)/%' /' )2- )-$$/)%$@> D $-:%9*, %$(-$ :*@ +- *77-*,-( 1/)2 )2- ?::/.$*)/%' D77-*,6
E%*$( 12/,- /'(/9/(&*,6 5-*$/'. 7-$6-3&)/%' &7%' $-)&$' :*@ *77,@ 5%$ /')-$'*)/%'*, 7$%)-3)/%'> F2-
G*,)-6- =%'6)/)&)/%'*, =%&$) /' /)6 (-3/6/%' (/63&66-( *+%9-A 1*6 /'5%$:-( +@ )2- H=)B< (-3/6/%' /'
!"#$" 12-' :*C/'. /)6 %1' (-)-$:/'*)/%'6 %' )2- /66&- %5 -55-3)/9- $-:-(/-6> F2- =%&$) '%)-(A
"&'(# )*")A )2*) )2- %+,/.*)/%'6 9*$@ (-7-'(/'. %' )2- '*)&$- %5 )2- 3,*/:I 2%1-9-$A )2- $-:-(@
:&6) '-3-66*$/,@ +- -55-3)/9- /' 7$*3)/3- *'( '%) %',@ *) ,*1> F2- *&)2%$/)@ )% 12/32 )2- $/.2) $-5-$6
(%-6 '%) '-3-66*$/,@ '--( )% +- * 8&(/3/*, *&)2%$/)@ *'( )2- $-:-(@ :*@ +- $-'(-$-( -55-3)/9- +@
)2- -'6-:+,- %5 7%66/+,- $-:-(/-6 *9*/,*+,- &'(-$ '*)/%'*, ,*1> F2- =%'6)/)&)/%'*, =%&$) '%)-(
)2*) :*'@ %5 )2- /'(/9/(&*,6 12% 2*( *$$/9-( 1/)2 )2- *77,/3*')6 2*( 6%&.2) *6@,&:A 12/,6) )2-
*77,/3*')6 2*( '%)> F2- =%&$) 3%'3,&(-(A %' )2- +*6/6 %5 *9*/,*+,- /'5%$:*)/%' )2*) )2- .$%&7 2*(
+--' /'5%$:-( %5 )2-/$ $/.2) )% 6--C *6@,&: /' G*,)* *'( )2-@ 2*( '%) (%'- 6%> B%1-9-$A )2- =%&$)
*,6% '%)-( )2*) 12-' )2- *77,/3*') %+8-3)-( )% 2/6 $-)&$' )% J/+@* 12/,6) +-/'. )*C-' )% )2- */$7%$)
2- 1*6 '%) 7$%9/(-( 1/)2 ,-.*, *66/6)*'3- %$ *' %77%$)&'/)@ )% 3%')-6) )2- $-:%9*, /' 5$%') %5 *
$-,-9*') *&)2%$/)@> F2- =%&$) '%)-( )2*) 12/,6) )2- *77,/3*') 2*( '%) $*/6-( )2- $/6C %5 )%$)&$- %$
#(+,-*(.(&' 1/)2 )2- 7%,/3- %55/3-$6A ./9-' )2- $/.2) ,-.*, *66/6)*'3-A *'( 3%'6/(-$/'. )2- 6/)&*)/%'
/' J/+@*A 2- 1%&,( 2*9- 2*( *' *$.&*+,- 3,*/: &'(-$ D$)/3,- " %5 )2- =%'9-')/%'> D6 6&32A )2- =%&$)
5%&'( )2*) )2-$- 2*( /'(--( +--' * 9/%,*)/%' %5 D$)/3,- K"A '%) +-3*&6- )2- *77,/3*') 1*6 (-'/-(
)2- 7%66/+/,/)@ %5 6--C/'. *6@,&: 12/,6) 2- 1*6 (-)*/'-(A +&) $*)2-$A +-3*&6- 12-' 2- %+8-3)-( )%
2/6 $-)&$' 2- 1*6 '%) ./9-' ,-.*, *66/6)*'3- *'( *' %77%$)&'/)@ )% 32*,,-'.- )2- $-)&$' /' 5$%') %5 *
3%:7-)-') *&)2%$/)@>
LM






LM
N*$*>OK

33
!"# $%&'()*'+,- +/ *01 2*)*1 301, 41*54,',( )&'1,-
1he varlous legal obllgaLlons of Lhe SLaLe when reLurnlng forelgners have been ouLllned LhroughouL
Lhls reporL. lL ls perLlnenL Lo noLe LhaL Lhe vlslLors 8oard for ueLalned Þersons
91
ls charged wlLh
monlLorlng Lhe proceedlngs relaLlng Lo Lhe lnvolunLary reLurn of lllegally-sLaylng Lhlrd counLry
naLlonals ln accordance wlLh Lhe provlslons of Lhe lmmlgraLlon AcL and of Lhe Common SLandards
and Þrocedures for 8eLurnlng lllegally SLaylng 1hlrd CounLry naLlonals 8egulaLlons.




91
Legal noLlce 81 of 2011, Laws of MalLa
1he Þeople for Change loundaLlon
36
ChapLer 3:
!"# !" $%&%'() %&'()#&*+ ,-.# /#01/ '-&2()#31*(-&2

1he !" $%&%'() lncldenL descrlbed above ralses a number of lnLeresLlng quesLlons: ls Lhere an
obllgaLlon on Lhe MasLer of a resculng vessel vls-a-vls Lhe obllgaLlon of *+*,-./+0&.'.*1? WhaL ls
Lhe legal effecL of lLaly's, and subsequenLly, MalLa's dlrecLlon LhaL Lhe MasLer reLurn Lo Llbya? Was
MalLa ln duLy bound Lo allow dlsembarkaLlon ln a slLuaLlon falllng shorL of dlsLress? Why dld lLaly,
for Lhe flrsL Llme, appear Lo alLer lLs lnLerpreLaLlon of Lhe SLaLe of dlsembarkaLlon? 1hese wlll be
explored ln greaLer depLh ln Lhe nexL secLlon.

456 %227#2 -8 9#2'7#

1he $%&%'() lncldenL presenLs a clearly dlfferenL scenarlo Lo Lhe push-backs whlch were Lhe sub[ecL
of Lhe 2(-)( case. neverLheless, a number of conslderaLlons arlse LhaL beneflL from Lhe approach
Laken by Lhe Crand Chamber ln Lhe 2(-)( case whlch clearly esLabllshed LhaL Lhe obllgaLlon of *+*,
-./+0&.'.*1 applles equally Lo lnLercepLlon and rescue operaLlons.

lL wlll be recalled LhaL Lhe concepLs of rescue and lnLercepLlon are dlfferenL. lnLercepLlon exerclses
are carrled ouL by deslgnaLed SLaLe auLhorlLles whlle rescue ls ofLen carrled ouL by prlvaLe vessels.
SLlll, as was noLed above, lnLercepLlon exerclses ofLen pre-empL Lhe need for a rescue. 1he
problem of dlsembarkaLlon ls more marked ln cases of rescue by prlvaLe vessels, as was hlghllghLed
ln Lhe $%&%'() lncldenL, slnce, when rescue ls carrled ouL by offlclal vessels (alLhough dlspuLes arlse
beLween lLaly and MalLa), ln case of an lmpasse, dlsembarkaLlons happen ln Lhe home porL of Lhe
offlclal vessel.
92



92
noLe however, Lhe Commlsslon Þroposal CCM (2013) 197 flnal whlch conLalns rules for dlsembarkaLlon ln cases of
rescue and lnLercepLlon ln arLlcle 10. 8egardlng MalLa's sLand on Lhe Commlsslon Þroposal, especlally Lhe see Councll
of Lhe Luropean unlon, Þroposal for a 8egulaLlon of Lhe Luropean ÞarllamenL and of Lhe Councll esLabllshlng rules for
Lhe survelllance of Lhe exLernal sea borders ln Lhe conLexL of operaLlonal cooperaLlon coordlnaLed by Lhe Luropean
Agency for Lhe ManagemenL of CperaLlonal CooperaLlon aL Lhe LxLernal 8orders of Lhe Member SLaLes of Lhe Luropean
unlon, ÞoslLlon on ArLlcles 9 and 10. (ÞresenLed by Lhe Creek, Spanlsh, lrench, lLallan, Cyprus and MalLese delegaLlons)
14612/13, 10 CcL 2013. See also Þresldency uoc 14733/13, 17 CcLober 2013.
Access Lo ÞroLecLlon: A Puman 8lghL
37
1here follows a brlef ouLllne of Lhe perLlnenL lssues aL law: prlmarlly, whaL consLlLuLes dlsLress and
whaL ls Lo happen posL-rescue lnsofar as concerns dellvery of Lhe rescues Lo a place of safeLy? lL wlll
be seen LhaL Lhe legal reglme ls lnadequaLe and LhaL one of Lhe only Lhlngs beyond doubL ls LhaL Lhe
obllgaLlon of ooo-tefoolemeot applles lrrespecLlve of Lhe naLure of Lhe lnLervenLlon aL sea.

"#$ %&' (')*+*, -. /+012'00

ln order Lo necesslLaLe a rescue, Lhe vessel ln quesLlon musL be ln a sLaLe of dlsLress. A number of
lnLerpreLaLlons apply here.
93
1he lnLernaLlonal ConvenLlon on Search and 8escue (SA8
ConvenLlon),
94
ln ChapLer 1 of lLs Annex, para. 1.1.13, descrlbes dlsLress as a 'slLuaLlon whereln
Lhere ls a reasonable cerLalnLy LhaL a vessel or a person ls LhreaLened by grave and lmmlnenL
danger and requlres lmmedlaLe asslsLance.' 1hls deflnlLlon arguably corresponds Lo Lhe deflnlLlon of
dlsLress under cusLomary lnLernaLlonal law.
93


An lMC Advlsory Clrcular on 'lnLerlm Measures for CombaLlng unsafe ÞracLlces assoclaLed wlLh Lhe
1rafflcklng or 1ransporL of MlgranLs by Sea' deflnes so-called 'unsafe pracLlces' ln a way LhaL could
very well be LanLamounL Lo dlsLress. Such pracLlces relaLe Lo 'any pracLlce whlch lnvolves operaLlng
a shlp LhaL ls:
1. obvlously ln condlLlons whlch vlolaLe fundamenLal prlnclples of safeLy aL sea, ln parLlcular
Lhose of Lhe SCLAS ConvenLlon, or
2. noL properly manned, equlpped or llcensed for carrylng passengers on lnLernaLlonal
voyages, and Lhereby consLlLuLe a serlous danger for Lhe llves or Lhe healLh of Lhe persons
on board, lncludlng Lhe condlLlons for embarkaLlon and dlsembarkaLlon.'

1hls classlflcaLlon, llmlLlng such slLuaLlons Lo 'unsafe pracLlces' and noL necessarlly as slLuaLlons of
dlsLress pet se, does noL help ln ldenLlfylng Lhe causes of dlsLress and Lhe need Lo address such

93
noLe Lhe examples of early [udgmenLs such as: kote A. noff cose (1be kebecco) (1929) vl 8lAA 444, 1be íleooot
(1809) Ldw. 133
94
Pamburg, 27 Aprll 1979, enLered lnLo force 22 !une 1983, 1403 un1S 97
93
See ln Lhls regard, Þ Mallla and u ALLard, 'Access Lo ÞorLs for Shlps ln ulsLress: WhaL of ulsembarkaLlon?' 10
8eoeJlct´s Motltlme 8olletlo 67, (Second /1hlrd CuarLer 2012).
1he Þeople for Change loundaLlon
38
slLuaLlons wlLhouL delay. 8aLher, lL seems Lo accenLuaLe Lhe facL LhaL, for a dlsLress slLuaLlon Lo
occur, Lhere musL be lmmlnenL danger of loss of llfe.
96


Cne ls Lherefore warranLed ln quesLlonlng wheLher Lhe above deflnlLlon of dlsLress ln Lhe SA8
ConvenLlon may be Loo narrow, especlally conslderlng overcrowded and unseaworLhy vessels
LransporLlng lrregular mlgranLs across rough seas. lndlcaLors of dlsLress are usefully ouLllned ln a
2012 8eporL drawn up by Lhe ÞarllamenLary CommlLLee of Lhe Councll of Lurope (ÞACL), lmplylng
LhaL even Lhough Lhe englne of a boaL may be runnlng (whlch would be an lndlcaLlon LhaL Lhe boaL
was noL ln an lmmedlaLe sLaLe of dlsLress) oLher lssues such as an overcrowded dlnghy, locaLed a
long dlsLance from shore, and people on board showlng clear slgns of dlsLress should be Laken lnLo
accounL ln Lhe deLermlnaLlon of wheLher or noL a dlsLress slLuaLlon exlsLs.
97
1o Lhls end,
8ecommendaLlon 13.3 of Lhe ÞACL 8eporL encourages Lhe need Lo:
Avold dlfferenL lnLerpreLaLlons of whaL consLlLuLes a vessel ln dlsLress, ln
parLlcular as concerns overloaded, unseaworLhy boaLs, even lf under
propulslon, and render approprlaLe asslsLance Lo such vessels. Whenever
safeLy requlres LhaL a vessel be asslsLed, Lhls should lead Lo rescue acLlons.
98


1o Lhls end, Lhe Commlsslon proposal referred Lo above (CCM(2013) 197 flnal) dlsLlngulshes
beLween Lhree separaLe sLages
99
and provldes a slLuaLlon of dlsLress 'should noL be excluslvely
dependenL or deLermlned by an acLual requesL for asslsLance.' ln such cases where Lhe shlp ls
percelved Lo be ln a dlsLress slLuaLlon buL Lhe persons on board refuse Lo accepL asslsLance, Lhe
parLlclpaLlng unlL ls !"#$% '(!' Lo conLlnue Lo 'fulflll a duLy of care by surveylng Lhe shlp aL a prudenL
dlsLance and by Laklng any measure necessary for Lhe safeLy of Lhe persons concerned, whlle
avoldlng Lo Lake any acLlon LhaL mlghL aggravaLe Lhe slLuaLlon or lncrease Lhe chances of ln[ury or
loss of llfe.'
100






96
See also: A Zlmmermann (ed) 1he 1931 ConvenLlon 8elaLlng Lo Lhe SLaLus of 8efugees and lLs 1967 ÞroLocol: A
CommenLary (CuÞ, Cxford, 2011) 829
97
Councll of Lurope, 'Llves losL ln Lhe MedlLerranean Sea: Who ls 8esponslble?' 29 March 2012, avallable aL:
hLLp://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docld/4f7be86b2.hLml (ÞACL 8eporL), para.93
98
1hls conslderaLlon ls relevanL ln deLermlnlng Lhe consequenL obllgaLlons of SA8 SLaLes when faced wlLh a vessel
needlng asslsLance.
99
1hese are: uncerLalnLy, ArLlcle 9(3), AlerL, ArLlcle 9(4) and ulsLress, ArLlcle 9(3).
100
ArLlcle 9(8) CCM (2013) 197 flnal
Access Lo ÞroLecLlon: A Puman 8lghL
39
!"# %&' ()*+,-.+/01 -02 3+145)-67-.+/0
1he obllgaLlon Lo rescue Lhose ln dlsLress aL sea ls enshrlned !"#$% '(!' ln Lhe LCSC and may be
regarded as parL of cusLomary lnLernaLlonal law, blndlng all SLaLes.
101
Aslde from ArLlcle 98(1) LCSC
however, Lhere ls a noLlceable dearLh of regulaLlon ln Lhe LCSC relaLlng Lo search and rescue
operaLlons. lurLher regulaLlon has been fleshed ouL ln Lwo lMC ConvenLlons, namely Lhe SA8
ConvenLlon and Lhe lnLernaLlonal ConvenLlon on Lhe SafeLy of Llfe aL Sea (SCLAS).
102


A SLaLe's SA8 obllgaLlons lnclude Lhe prlmary responslblllLy Lo coordlnaLe all search and rescue
operaLlons wlLhln lLs SA8 zone ln order LhaL survlvors are dlsembarked and are Laken Lo a place of
safeLy, Lo ensure LhaL all rescued persons are dlsembarked aL a place of safeLy wlLhln a reasonable
Llme and also Lo release shlpmasLers who have asslsLed persons ln dlsLress aL sea from Lhelr
obllgaLlons wlLh mlnlmum furLher devlaLlon from Lhe shlp's voyage.
103

Whlle lLaly has accepLed Lhe 2004 amendmenLs, MalLa has formally ob[ecLed Lo Lhem and does noL
conslder lLself bound by Lhe Clrcular of Lhe lMC's laclllLaLlon CommlLLee (lAL) of !anuary 2009
enLlLled 'Þrlnclples relaLlng Lo AdmlnlsLraLlve Þrocedures for ulsembarklng Þersons 8escued aL
Sea'.
104
lnsLead, MalLa advocaLes Lhe 'nexL porL of call' rule whlch dlrecLs LhaL dlsembarkaLlon
should occur aL Lhe nearesL safe porL Lo Lhe slLe of Lhe rescue, whlch ln Lhe MalLese SA8 area
103
ls
ofLen a porL ln lLaly. lLaly on Lhe oLher hand, lnLerpreLs Lhe 2004 amendmenLs Lo Lhe effecL LhaL Lhe
SLaLe ln whose SA8 area Lhe rescue ls effecLed has Lhe responslblllLy of dlsembarklng Lhe rescues on
lLs LerrlLory.

101
ArLlcle 98(1) LCSC lmposes a duLy on shlpmasLers Lo render asslsLance Lo Lhose ln dlsLress aL sea, wlLh Lhe only
permlsslble excepLlon belng LhaL he musL be able Lo conducL such rescue operaLlon wlLhouL 'serlous danger Lo Lhe shlp,
Lhe crew or Lhe passengers'. ArLlcle 98(2) LCSC lmposes Lhe obllgaLlon on every coasLal SLaLe Lo esLabllsh an adequaLe
and effecLlve search and rescue servlce.
102
noLe LhaL lL ls only slnce 2004 LhaL Lhe acL of dlsembarkaLlon has been expressly sLaLed Lo be parL of Lhe rescue
operaLlon, followlng amendmenLs Lo Lhe SA8 ConvenLlon, whlch came lnLo force on 1 !uly 2006. See para. 3.1.6.4,
ChapLer 3 of Lhe Annex Lo Lhe SA8 ConvenLlon whlch provldes LhaL Lhe coordlnaLlng SLaLe musL 'make Lhe necessary
arrangemenLs ln cooperaLlon wlLh oLher 8CCs Lo ldenLlfy Lhe mosL approprlaLe place(s) for dlsembarklng persons found
ln dlsLress aL sea.'
103
SA8 ConvenLlon, Annex, para. 3.1.9. 1he SCLAS ConvenLlon, ln 8eg v/33.1.1 lmposes Lhe same obllgaLlon on
ConLracLlng CovernmenLs.
104
lAL.3/Clrc.194, 22 !anuary 2009, para. 2.3. An lMC Clrcular ls a documenL whlch alLhough non-blndlng ls lnfluenLlal
on Lhe SLaLe parLles.
103
A SA8 reglon ls deflned as an 'area of deflned dlmenslons assoclaLed wlLh a rescue co-ordlnaLlon cenLre wlLhln whlch
search and rescue servlces are provlded.' (SA8 ConvenLlon, Annex, ChapLer 1, para. 1.3.4.). MalLa's SA8 Area spans
over 230, 000 square kllomeLres, spannlng from 1unlsla Lo Creece.
1he Þeople for Change loundaLlon
40
Powever, Lhe SA8 ConvenLlon only lays down an obllgaLlon of coordlnaLlon and cooperaLlon and
does noL necessarlly enLall an expllclL duLy Lo allow dlsembarkaLlon ln a parLlcular porL.
106


!"# %&' ()*+,' -. /+.'012

1he place of safeLy galns cenLral slgnlflcance ln Lhe appllcaLlon of Lhe prlnclple of !"!#$%&"'(%)%!*+
as lL descrlbes Lhe characLerlsLlc of Lhe place where lndlvlduals are Lo be Laken posL-rescue. 1he
2004 Culdellnes deflne a 'place of safeLy' as Lhe locaLlon where Lhe rescue operaLlon ls consldered
Lo LermlnaLe. lL musL be a place where Lhe safeLy of llfe of Lhe persons rescued ls no longer under
LhreaL and where Lhelr baslc human needs (such as Lhose relaLlng Lo food, shelLer, and medlcal
exlgencles) may be meL.
"#$

lL also musL amounL Lo a place from whlch arrangemenLs may be made
for Lhe rescuees' LransporLaLlon Lo Lhe nexL or Lhelr flnal desLlnaLlon.
"#%
Accordlng Lo Lhese same
Culdellnes, Lhe resculng vessel ls noL Lo be consldered as a place of safeLy slmply because Lhe
survlvors are no longer ln lmmedlaLe danger. Lven lf Lhe resculng vessel may safely accommodaLe
Lhe survlvors and Lhus be a Lemporary place of safeLy, lL oughL Lo be relleved of Lhls responslblllLy
as soon as pracLlcable. lndeed, a rescue unlL or oLher sulLable vessel or faclllLy aL sea may only serve
as a place of safeLy unLll Lhe survlvors are dlsembarked Lo Lhelr nexL desLlnaLlon. 1hus, slnce sLaLus
deLermlnaLlon procedures are preferably carrled ouL on land, dlsembarkaLlon of all on board ls
necessary ln order Lo valldly and effecLlvely carry ouL an ldenLlflcaLlon process.

1haL Lhe 'place of safeLy' also lncludes facLors oLher Lhan lmmedlaLe physlcal needs and exLends Lo
proLecLlon of human rlghLs ls evldenL boLh ln Lhe Culdellnes on Lhe 1reaLmenL of Þersons 8escued
aL Sea (see paras 3.1.6 and 6.17) and ln Lhe ÞACL 8esoluLlon 1821 (2011) whlch asserLs LhaL such
place of safeLy musL necessarlly enLall respecL for fundamenLal rlghLs and noL only physlcal
proLecLlon focused on Lhe lmmedlaLe allevlaLlon of dlsLress.
"#&
Slmllarly, Lhe Aprll 2013 Lu
Commlsslon Þroposal for a 8egulaLlon esLabllshlng rules for 8order Survelllance ln Lhe conLexL of
!olnL CperaLlons aL Sea coordlnaLed by Lhe Lu 8orders Agency
""#
lncludes, ln ArLlcle 2(11) Lhe
'proLecLlon of Lhelr fundamenLal human rlghLs' as one of Lhe characLerlsLlc feaLures of a 'place of

106
See furLher: Culdellnes on Lhe 1reaLmenL of Þersons 8escued aL Sea, para. 2.3. 1hls leads Lo confllcLlng poslLlons
and reglmes, such as LhaL arlslng wlLh Lhe -./ 01!2$#3 whlch was rescued off Lampedusa ln Aprll 2009.
107
See furLher Culdellnes, paras 6.12-6.14.
108
Culdellnes, Þara 6.12
109
See paras 3.2 and 9.3.
110
CCM (2013) 197 flnal, 12.4.2013, See also arL 10(4).
Access Lo ÞroLecLlon: A Puman 8lghL
41
safeLy.' lL seems safe Lo hold Lherefore, conslderlng Lhe aforemenLloned lssues, LhaL a deflnlLlon of
a 'place of safeLy' would recognlze LhaL such place 'should noL be resLrlcLed solely Lo Lhe physlcal
proLecLlon of people, buL necessarlly also enLalls respecL for Lhelr fundamenLal rlghLs.'
"""


"#" $%&' () *+,-(.,/0/1/'23

lL wlll be recalled LhaL lLaly, as Lhe SLaLe lnlLlally coordlnaLlng Lhe rescue, dlrecLed Lhe MasLer of Lhe
resculng vessel Lo reLurn Lo Lhe Llbyan porL from whlch lL had deparLed. MalLese auLhorlLles also
malnLalned LhaL Lhls was Lhe proper approach Lo follow, lnslsLlng LhaL Lhe vessel reLurn Lo lLs lasL
porL of call and slLe closesL Lo Lhe rescue ln order Lo arrange for dlsembarkaLlon Lhere, and golng as
far as Lo asserL LhaL Lhe MasLer Lhereby breached lnLernaLlonal Law by refuslng Lo do so. 1he leLLer
whlch Lhe MalLese ALLorney Ceneral senL Lo Lhe !"#"$%& vla lLs AgenL sLaLed LhaL:
uesplLe belng provlded wlLh clear lnsLrucLlons by Lhe MarlLlme 8escue CoordlnaLlon CenLres
8ome and Lhe 8escue CoordlnaLlon CenLre MalLa Lo conLacL Lhe Llbyan SA8 auLhorlLles .
Lhe masLer of Lhe vessel chose noL Lo conLacL Lhe sald auLhorlLy and lgnored Lhe lnsLrucLlons
whlch he had been glven . 1he masLers' acLlons appear Lo have prlorlLlzed Lhe commerclal
lnLeresLs of Lhe vessel and Lhose of Lhe owners/operaLors of Lhe sald vessel over
lnLernaLlonal legal obllgaLlons.. MasLer's perslsLenL fallure Lo comply wlLh Lhe lnLernaLlonal
legal reglme and wlLh Lhe lnsLrucLlons recelved.
112


1he general poslLlon Laken by MalLa was LhaL Lhe MasLer breached lnLernaLlonal obllgaLlons
relaLlng Lo Lhe necesslLy of dlsembarkaLlon aL Lhe closesL safe porL. 1hls approach has hlghllghLed a
worrylng lnLerpreLaLlon of Lhe 'place of safeLy.' Þrlor Lo Lhls lncldenL, lL had been generally
advocaLed, as dlscussed above, LhaL Lhe general descrlpLlon of a place of safeLy was noL only a
geographlcal locaLlon or one where lmmedlaLe physlcal needs are meL buL also one where one's
rlghLs human rlghLs are respecLed.
113
Llbya ls noL a place of safeLy.
114
lLs readlness or oLherwlse Lo
recelve mlgranLs cannoL be Laken as a facL aldlng Lhls deLermlnaLlon - conLrary Lo Lhe MalLese
auLhorlLles' vlews, lncludlng Lhe Þrlme MlnlsLer, Pome Affalrs MlnlsLer, ALLorney Ceneral and AlM
Commander.
113


111
ÞACL 8eporL, para 3.2
112
LeLLer avallable onllne:
hLLp://www.LlmesofmalLa.com/arLlcles/vlew/20130803/local/Lanker-carrylng-mlgranLs.480832
113
See for example: '8locklng !"#"$%& ls 'polnL of prlnclple' for MalLese governmenL' '"#(" *+,"-, 6 AugusL 2013.
114
See also . "/, 0(123& 45 '"#(", AppllcaLlon no. 43983/13.
113
'!"#"$%& heads Lo lLaly as MalLa refuses access Lo rescued asylum seekers' '"#(" *+,"-, 7 AugusL 2013
1he Þeople for Change loundaLlon
42
uesplLe Lhls reallLy, however, reLurns Lo Llbya conLlnue. lor lnsLance, durlng Lhe nlghL of Lhe 4
Lh

and 3
Lh
AugusL, a 1urklsh vessel !"#$%&', conducLed a rescue of 96 lndlvlduals ln Llbya's SA8 area.
lL Lhen followed lLaly's lnsLrucLlons Lo dlsembark Lhem ln 1rlpoll.
116
AL law, Lhls cannoL be done.
8eLurn by offlclal vessels or alrcrafL, or dlrecLlon Lo prlvaLe vessels Lo reLurn lndlvlduals Lo a
poLenLlal place of persecuLlon amounLs Lo push-back operaLlons whlch are ln vlolaLlon of
lnLernaLlonal legal norms.
117
lndeed, by dlrecLlng Lhe MasLer of resculng vessels Lo reLurn Lo Llbya
posL-rescue, a SLaLe would be engaglng ln a "% )#*'+ push-back.

1hls leads Lo anoLher quesLlon and LhaL ls wheLher or noL Lhe MasLer of Lhe vessel would be bound
noL Lo reLurn poLenLlal asylum seekers Lo a place of persecuLlon. 1he obllgaLlon of a shlpmasLer ls
Lo proceed wlLh hasLe Lo Lhe rescue of Lhose ln dlsLress aL sea. 1he amendmenLs of 2004 Lo Lhe
SA8 and SCLAS ConvenLlons lmposed Lhe correspondlng obllgaLlon on conLracLlng CovernmenLs Lo
coordlnaLe and cooperaLe ln order Lo relleve Lhe MasLer of hls responslblllLy as soon as reasonably
pracLlcable. 1hls approach Lherefore soughL Lo sLrlke a balance beLween Lhe obllgaLlons of Lhe
MasLer Lo come Lo Lhe asslsLance of persons ln dlsLress aL sea and Lhe obllgaLlons of ConLracLlng
SLaLes Lo permlL and asslsL Lhe MasLer ln dlsembarklng such persons Lo a place of safeLy wlLhln a
reasonable Llme.

1he &+&,-%)+./%0%&' obllgaLlon blnds only SLaLes and does noL, as a maLLer of law, blnd Lhe masLer
of a resculng vessel.
118
Powever, Lhe 2003 lMC Culdellnes on Lhe 1reaLmenL of Þersons rescued aL
sea call on shlpmasLers 1&'%- #/1# Lo ensure 'LhaL survlvors are noL dlsembarked Lo a place where
Lhelr safeLy would be furLher [eopardlzed.'
119
lurLhermore, Lhey are made aware of Lhe need Lo
avold dlsembarkaLlon ln LerrlLorles where Lhe llves or freedoms of Lhose alleglng a well-founded
fear of persecuLlon would be LhreaLened.
120
Whlle Lhese Culdellnes remaln non-blndlng, Lhese
crlLerla musL be consldered when deLermlnlng Lhe place of safeLy ln Lhe sense of Lhe SA8

116
'CovernmenL requlres shlp masLer Lo reLurn Lo rescue locaLlon' 210%3 +) 4#/'#5 3 AugusL 2013.
117
See furLher n. lrenLzen, 'lLaly ConducLed 6% 7#*'+ Þush-8ack of MlgranLs by Crderlng Cargo Shlp Lo 8escue and
1ransporL MlgranLs Lo Llbya'.
hLLp://mlgranLsaLsea.wordpress.com/2013/08/13/lLaly-conducLed-de-facLo-push-back-of-mlgranLs-by-orderlng-cargo-
shlp-Lo-rescue-and-LransporL-mlgranLs-Lo-llbya/
118
Cn Lhe obllgaLlon of Lhe MasLer generally, see Þ Mallla, 418-#&' 90.88/1&8 :; 9%# (MarLlnus nl[hoff, 1he
neLherlands, 2010) 99 %' 3%<.
119
MSC.167(78), 20 May 2004, Þara.3.1.6.
120
Þara.6.17.
Access Lo ÞroLecLlon: A Puman 8lghL
43
ConvenLlon (1.3.2 and 3.1.9) and Lhe SCLAS ConvenLlon (8egulaLlon 33, para. 1-1 of ChapLer 3,
Annex).
121


1he shlp masLer's deLermlnaLlon of a place of safeLy musL Lherefore be lnformed by Lhese
conslderaLlons. Puman rlghLs are Loo fundamenLal Lo warranL a dlfferenL Lhreshold of proLecLlon
dependlng on wheLher a rescue ls effecLed by a prlvaLe vessel or by an offlclal vessel. MalLa (and
lLaly ln Lhls case) cannoL evade Lhelr responslblllLy Lowards poLenLlal asylum seekers by lnsLrucLlng
resculng vessels Lo reLurn rescuees Lo places of dlsembarkaLlon Lo whlch Lhelr own offlclal vessels
are precluded from dlsembarklng. Any such acLlons would be ln vlolaLlon of Lhelr obllgaLlons aL
lnLernaLlonal Law.

lurLhermore, lL should also be noLed LhaL had Lhe MasLer of Lhe !"#"$%& followed MalLa's
lnsLrucLlons and proceeded Lo dlsembark Lhe mlgranLs ln Llbya, MalLa could be held llable for
'wrongful acLs' commlLLed by Lhe shlpmasLer under ArLlcle 8 of Lhe urafL ArLlcles on SLaLe
8esponslblllLy.
122
ln relevanL parL, Lhls provlslon sLaLes LhaL '[L]he conducL of a person .. shall be
consldered an acL of a SLaLe under lnLernaLlonal law lf Lhe person .. ls ln facL acLlng on Lhe
lnsLrucLlons of . LhaL SLaLe ln carrylng ouL Lhe conducL.'

Aslde from lLs lnslsLence LhaL Lhe MasLer reLurn Lhe rescued lndlvlduals Lo Llbya, MalLa's
responslblllLy, lf any, would exlsL lf lL were under a legal obllgaLlon Lo admlL Lhe !"#"$%& for
dlsembarkaLlon of Lhe rescuees on lLs LerrlLory. A readlng of Lhe relevanL offlclal sLaLemenLs would
()%$" *"+%, lndlcaLe LhaL MalLa dld lndeed have such responslblllLy. 1he Lu Commlsslon sLressed
LhaL Lhe prlorlLy was Lo save llves and LhaL any dlspuLe regardlng Lhe responslble search and rescue
auLhorlLy, as well as Lhe rlghL locaLlon for dlsembarkaLlon should be clarlfled laLer. Whlle Lhls
sLaLemenL ls Lrue, Lhe Commlsslon also malnLalned LhaL MalLa had a 'humanlLarlan duLy' Lo permlL
dlsembarkaLlon.
123
1hls approach was echoed by %-.,) "#%" Lhe Luropean Councll on 8efugees and

121
noLe Lhe purpose of Lhe Culdellnes %-.,) "#%"/ 'Lo help CovernmenLs and masLers beLLer undersLand Lhelr obllgaLlons
under lnLernaLlonal law and provlde helpful guldance wlLh regard Lo carrylng ouL Lhese obllgaLlons'. 8ef: para. 1.2.
122
lnLernaLlonal Law Commlsslon, 0)"*. 1).%+#,& 2- 3,&(2-&%4%#%.5 2* !.".,& *2) 6-.,)-".%2-"##5 7)2-8*9# 1+.&, 33 un
CAC8 Supp. (no. 10) aL 43, u.n. uoc. A/36/10 (2001).
123
'Commlssloner Cecllla MalmsLröm urges Lhe MalLese auLhorlLles Lo Lake acLlon' MLMC/13/739, 6 AugusL 2013
hLLp://europa.eu/rapld/press-release_MLMC-13-739_en.hLm#Þ8_meLaÞress8elease_boLLom
1he Þeople for Change loundaLlon
44
Lxlles and AmnesLy lnLernaLlonal.
124
lL ls however submlLLed LhaL MalLa would have been obllged
Lo permlL enLry and dlsembarkaLlon should Lhe vessel have been ln a sLaLe of dlsLress. 1he "#$#%&'
was, aL Lhe relevanL Llme, noL ln such a sLaLe and Lherefore as a sLrlcL maLLer of law was noL legally
obllged Lo permlL enLry Lo porL and subsequenL dlsembarkaLlon. lndeed, Lhls was Lhe approach
Laken by Lhe MalLese MlnlsLer for Pome Affalrs who [usLlfled Lhe refusal Lo allow dlsembarkaLlon
on LhaL basls LhaL, ln Lhe absence of an 'emergency' on board Lhe vessel, permlLLlng enLry lnLo porL
would creaLe a 'dangerous precedenL'.
123


Aslde from Lhe lssue of dlsLress however, MalLa could arguably be held responslble for delaylng Lhe
concluslon of Lhe rescue operaLlon by denylng enLry lnLo porL, preclsely by permlLLlng a delay ln
reachlng a place of safeLy. 1he sLaLemenLs lssued, some of whlch are referred Lo above, focused on
Lhls polnL: Lhe prlorlLy LhaL musL be glven Lo Lhe dlsembarkaLlon of Lhe asylum-seekers on board
Lhe vessel. A counLer-argumenL may hold LhaL slnce Lhls obllgaLlon ls framed ln ArLlcle 3.1.9 of Lhe
Annex Lo Lhe SA8 ConvenLlon, whlch amendmenL MalLa ls noL parLy Lo, Lhe SLaLe ls noL bound by
Lhls provlslon. lL ls submlLLed LhaL Lhls would be lncorrecL - Lhe underlylng purpose of Lhe SA8
ConvenLlon ls rescue and dellvery Lo a place of safeLy, such core obllgaLlons of a fundamenLal
characLer cannoL be evaded.
126


AnoLher aspecL of Lhls lncldenL ls Lhe prospecL of a responslblllLy vacuum: Lhe responslble SA8
auLhorlLy, Llbya, dld noL acL. lndeed, 8ome M8CC declared LhaL lL was acLlng on behalf of Lhe
Llbyan auLhorlLles. 1he currenL SA8 reglme leaves unresolved Lhe slLuaLlon where Lhe SA8 SLaLe
does noL acL and remalns unresponslve Lo dlsLress calls, Lhereby falllng Lo fulfll lLs duLy Lo

124
'LC8L calls for Lhe safe dlsembarkaLlon of persons on board Mv "#$#%&' ln MalLa'
hLLp://www.ecre.org/medla/news/laLesL-news/breaklng.hLml#ecre-sLaLemenL, AmnesLy lnLernaLlonal, 'MlgranLs
rescued aL sea afLer fleelng Llbya musL be allowed Lo dlsembarkaLlon MalLa' 6 AugusL 2013, 'humanlLarlan duLy'.
123
'8locklng "#$#%&' ls 'polnL of prlnclple' for MalLese governmenL' (#$)# *+,#-, 6 AugusL 2013.
126
8egardlng lLaly's lnlLlal poslLlon regardlng responslblllLy was much Lhe same as MalLa's, lnsofar as dlrecLlng Lhe
MasLer Lo reLurn Lhe rescuees Lo Llbya and posLponlng Lhe LermlnaLlon of Lhe rescue operaLlon. 1haL lL bore Lhe
prlmary responslblllLy ln coordlnaLlng Lhe rescue ls clear, lndeed, lL Look on Lhe role of Lhe 8CC coordlnaLlng Lhe rescue.
See ln Lhls regard: para. 6.7 of Lhe Culdellnes whlch explalns LhaL Lhe 8CC flrsL conLacLed ls 'responslble for co-
ordlnaLlng Lhe case unLll Lhe responslble 8CC or oLher compeLenL auLhorlLy assumes responslblllLy.' lL ls lnLeresLlng
however, LhaL lLaly's conslsLenL approach ln dlsembarkaLlon lmpasses has always been LhaL Lhe SLaLe ln whose SA8 area
Lhe rescue ls conducLed and whlch Lherefore, ls conducLlng Lhe rescue, ls obllged aL law, Lhrough Lhe 2004
amendmenLs, Lo dlsembark Lhe rescuees ln lLs LerrlLory. Cn Lhls reasonlng Lherefore, whlch lLaly malnLalns ls Lhe
correcL lnLerpreLaLlon of Lhe SA8 and SCLA8 ConvenLlons, lLaly was obllged Lo dlsembark Lhe lndlvlduals whlch Lhe
"#$#%&' had rescued. ConLrary Lo prevlous pracLlce however, lLaly advocaLed, for Lhe flrsL Llme, LhaL Lhe rescuees
should be dlsembarked aL Lhe closesL porL.
Access Lo ÞroLecLlon: A Puman 8lghL
43
coordlnaLe search and rescue operaLlons. 1he only regulaLlon LhaL exlsLs ls Lhe general duLy aL
lnLernaLlonal law obllglng all SLaLes Lo cooperaLe and asslsL ln a rescue operaLlon, regardless of
wheLher Lhey bear Lhe prlmary responslblllLy as SA8 SLaLe, or wheLher Lhey bear Lhe general
obllgaLlon of ArLlcle 98(2) LCSC. Such regulaLlon may noL seem effecLlve enough especlally when
one conslders Lhe Lraglc consequences LhaL may occur ln Lhe absence of Llmely asslsLance.
127


"#$ %&' (')*+,- .-*-' /) (01'23*45*-0/6

A crlLlcal !"#$%" ln Lhe currenL SA8 reglme remalns, however: Lhe lack of speclflcaLlon of a defaulL
SLaLe of dlsembarkaLlon.
128
1he &"!"'() lncldenL has hlghllghLed Lhls Lo no uncerLaln degree.
129

Whlle lL ls clear LhaL prlorlLy musL aL all Llmes be glven Lo dlsembarkaLlon, Lhe SA8 ConvenLlon
reglme does noL effecLlvely deslgnaLe such a SLaLe.

Aslde from Lhe unaccepLable consequences of delays ln dlsembarkaLlon, Lhls uncerLalnLy has ma[or
ramlflcaLlons on Lhe search and rescue reglme and rlsks [eopardlzlng Lhe enLlre sysLem. ueadlocks
such as Lhose occurrlng wlLh Lhe &"!"'() rescuees furLher demonsLraLe Lhe urgenL need Lo
deslgnaLe a defaulL SLaLe of dlsembarkaLlon, or, as Lhe unPC8 has noLed, Lo develop a reglonal
framework Lo sLrengLhen cooperaLlon and coordlnaLlon among SLaLes and oLher lmpllcaLed ln
rescue aL sea operaLlons.'
130
An lnlLlaLlve dlrecLed Lowards remedylng Lhls unsaLlsfacLory sLaLe of
affalrs ls currenLly belng aLLempLed under Lhe ausplces of Lhe lMC. 1he laLesL drafL of Lhe 8eglonal
Memorandum of undersLandlng on procedures relaLlng Lo Lhe dlsembarkaLlon of persons rescued
aL sea provldes a welcome lnlLlaLlve ln Lhe alm of lnLroduclng cerLalnLy lnLo Lhls area of Lhe law and
also, alms aL caLerlng Lo Lhe exlgencles of Lhe parLlcular SLaLes lnvolved.
131
Cnly unLll Lhe legal
reglme speclfles a SLaLe of dlsembarkaLlon can Lhe rlsk of delaylng - or denylng - safeLy Lo
desperaLe lndlvlduals be averLed.

127
8emlnlscenL of Lhe 'LefL-Lo-ule' boaL of 72 persons leavlng Llbya on 26 March 2011 and drlfLlng back on Lo Llbyan
shores 13 days laLer wlLh only 9 survlvors. See: 'Llves losL ln Lhe MedlLerranean Sea: Who ls 8esponslble?' ÞACL
MlgraLlon CommlLLee, March 2012.
128
noLed for example ln: Commlsslon (LC), +&,$-. /% ,01 2%,13%",(/%"! 4"5 2%),3$'1%,) (% 61!",(/% ,/ 2!!17"!
2''(73",(/% 8. &1"9 (SLaff Worklng uocumenL) SLC (2007) 691, 13 May 2007. See paras 2.3.2 and 2.3.4
129
'MalLese MlgranL ullemma polnLs Lo urgenL need for clearer dlsembarkaLlon rules, say l8A' 6 AugusL 2013
130
'unPC8: ÞrlorlLy musL be glven Lo dlsembarkaLlon of asylum-seekers onboard Lhe M/v Salamls' 6 AugusL 2013
hLLp://www.unhcr.org.mL/news-and-vlews/news/688-unhcr-prlorlLy-musL-be-glven-Lo-dlsembarkaLlon-of-asylum-
seekers-onboard-Lhe-mv-salamls
131
lMC, Clrcular LeLLer no. 3234 (12 March 2012). A prevlous meeLlng had been held ln 8ome, ln 2011. 8ef: lMC,
Clrcular LeLLer no. 3203 (18 AugusL 2011), MeeLlng on a 8eglonal Memorandum of undersLandlng on concerLed
procedures relaLlng Lo Lhe dlsembarkaLlon of persons rescued aL sea, ln 8ome (lLaly) on 12 CcLober 2011.
1he Þeople for Change loundaLlon
46
ChapLer 6:
!"#$%&'("#' *#+ ,-$"..-#+*/("#'

1hls reporL has ouLllned some of Lhe more sallenL legal obllgaLlons relaLlng Lo Lhe prlnclple of !"!#
$%&"'(%)%!*+ especlally aL Lhe exLernal sea borders. lL ldenLlfled a number of lmporLanL prlnclples.
llrsL, Lhe prlnclple of !"!#$%&"'(%)%!* applles lrrespecLlve of Lhe caLegorlzaLlon of Lhe lnLervenLlon
aL sea. 1he obllgaLlons cannoL be flouLed slmply by ldenLlfylng an lnLervenLlon as a rescue raLher
Lhan an lnLercepLlon. lnsLrucLlons Lo prlvaLe vessels Lo reLurn rescued persons Lo porLs Lo whlch an
offlclal vessel ls barred from reLurnlng Lhem also conLravenes Lhe relevanL legal obllgaLlons.

Second, MalLa has a responslblllLy Lo ensure LhaL lL abldes by Lhe prlnclple of !"!#$%&"'(%)%!*, boLh
ln Lerms of noL reLurnlng people ln vlolaLlon Lhereof and ln provldlng for Lhe poslLlve obllgaLlons
ldenLlfled, lnLer alla, by Lhe LCLP8. Þubllc offlclals lnvolved ln Lhe declslons regardlng reLurn, boLh
from Lhe hlgh seas and from Lhe LerrlLory, musL be fully aware of Lhe slLuaLlon faclng people
reLurned Lo a parLlcular counLry. 1hls ls a legal obllgaLlon ldenLlfled by boLh Lhe SLrasbourg CourL
and Lhe MalLese ConsLlLuLlonal CourL. Moreover, efforLs Lo provlde lnformaLlon abouL Lhe rlghL Lo,
and procedures for seeklng asylum should be malnLalned and sLrengLhened, whllsL access Lo legal
asslsLance should be lmproved. 1he effecLlve lmplemenLaLlon of Lhese obllgaLlons ln a way LhaL
ensures LhaL human rlghLs are safeguarded lmply LhaL Lhose rescued or lnLercepLed aL sea should
be broughL Lo shore and provlded access Lo an asylum process.

lL ls, moreover, crlLlcal Lo bear ln mlnd LhaL Lhe prlnclples ln ,-$.-+ lncludlng wlLh regards Lo !"!#
$%&"'(%)%!*+ collecLlve expulslons and general human rlghLs are noL resLrlcLed Lo asylum seekers
buL raLher are based on Lhe prlnclples of human rlghLs enshrlned ln Lhe Luropean ConvenLlon on
Puman 8lghLs. As such, Lhey apply Lo all persons equally, lrrespecLlve of Lhelr asylum seeklng
sLaLus. lndlvldual assessmenLs are requlred Lo ensure LhaL Lhe human rlghLs of all persons are
safeguarded.





Access Lo ÞroLecLlon: A Puman 8lghL
47
!"#$%%"&'()*$&+
1he Þeople for Change loundaLlon calls on Lhe MalLese CovernmenL Lo:

1. ConslsLenLly respecL Lhe prlnclple of !"!#$%&"'(%)%!*, as appllcable regardless of Lhe
classlflcaLlon of Lhe parLlcular acL, ln llne wlLh MalLa's lnLernaLlonal legal obllgaLlons.
2. Lnsure LhaL Lhe savlng llves aL sea ls always Lhe flrsL and maln prlorlLy of any lnLercepLlon or
rescue mlsslon, and LhaL persons rescued are noL reLurned Lo a place where Lhey mlghL face
human rlghLs vlolaLlons lncludlng LorLure and cruel and lnhumane LreaLmenL and
punlshmenL.
3. Clarlfy LhaL 'a place of safeLy' refers noL only Lo Lhe physlcal safeLy of Lhe lndlvldual buL musL
also be such a place where hls/her human rlghLs are proLecLed and Lhere ls an effecLlve
opporLunlLy Lo seek lnLernaLlonal proLecLlon.
4. 8alse awareness amongsL lLs varlous branches, lncludlng Lhose dlrecLly lnvolved ln lmmlgraLlon
conLrol of Lhe varlous legal and pollcy lmpllcaLlons of Lhe +,$-, [udgmenLs lncludlng Lhe poslLlve
obllgaLlons lL ldenLlfles.
3. Lnsure LhaL respecL for human rlghLs, lncludlng Lhe rlghLs of non-naLlonals, ls a prlorlLy ln lLs
negoLlaLlons wlLh Lhe Llbyan governmenL and auLhorlLles.

lurLhermore, we call on Lhe Luropean unlon Lo:
6. Lnsure any deslgnaLlon of a speclflc place of safeLy as Lhe locaLlon of dlsembarkaLlon be
coupled wlLh solldarlLy measures ln place ln order Lo asslsL Lhe SLaLe of dlsembarkaLlon ln Lhe
aLLendanL responslblllLles whlch consequenLly become lncumbenL upon lL.
7. Lnsure LhaL any legal and pollcy developmenLs aL Luropean level ablde by Lhe prlnclples seL
ouL ln Lhe +,$-, [udgmenL and fully respecL human rlghLs.
8. Lnsure LhaL lLs own agencles, lncludlng lronLex, do noL engage ln acLlons ln vlolaLlon of Lhe
prlnclple of !"!#$%&"'(%)%!*. and LhaL Luropean unlon funds are noL uLlllzed Lo supporL
measures LhaL conLravene SLaLes' obllgaLlons ln Lhls regard.
9. Lncourage Lhe developmenL of solldarlLy arrangemenLs beLween varlous Lu Member SLaLes ln
Lerms of Lhe dlsembarkaLlon of persons rescued aL sea.
10. Lnsure LhaL human rlghLs conslderaLlons are a prlmary focus of any negoLlaLlons wlLh Lhlrd
counLrles ln Lhe conLexL of mlgraLlon managemenL.

1he Þeople for Change loundaLlon
48
!"# %#&'(# )&* +",-.# /&0-1,23&-

1. SupporLs MalLa's call for greaLer solldarlLy from Lhe Luropean unlon and lLs Member SLaLes,
boLh ln deallng wlLh mlgranL arrlvals as well as ln shaplng a longer-Lerm susLalnable
framework.
2. ls agalnsL any form of push-back LhaL would consLlLuLe a breach of MalLa's lnLernaLlonal legal
obllgaLlons.
3. Calls on Lhe MalLese governmenL Lo ensure LhaL each asylum seeker be glven an effecLlve
opporLunlLy Lo seek lnLernaLlonal proLecLlon and LhaL each appllcaLlon be heard and
consldered lndlvldually, ln llne wlLh MalLa's legal obllgaLlons.
4. 8emalns commlLLed Lo asslsLlng Lhe governmenL, governmenL agencles and nCCs ln Lhe
developmenL, lmplemenLaLlon and evaluaLlon of pollcles, measures and lnlLlaLlves LhaL
safeguard Lhe human rlghLs and dlgnlLy of all.
3. Calls for resLralnL ln Lhe use of pollLlcal dlscourse of crlsls and panlc, whlch lnLenslfles
xenophobla and raclsm.

!!!"#$%&'()'"*+,
.%%/00 )* 1+*)/%)2*34 . 56&'3 72,8)
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