President of Malta, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, together with the President of the Local Councils Association, Mr Mario Fava, convened a meeting, with various local councils, namely; Marsa, Ħamrun, Floriana, Pietà, Gżira, Paola and Birżebbuġa and representatives from migrant communities forming part of the Migrant-led NGO Platform within the President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society.
Those present discussed the tensions and concerns which prompted the organization of a march against lawlessness in Marsa, currently scheduled to take place this Sunday 17th September. The meeting provided an opportunity to share many common challenges faced by the residents in specific Maltese localities, while the representatives of the Migrant-Led NGOs shared experiences of discrimination and abuse suffered by refugees and migrants, who as a consequence face poverty and social exclusion.
From the outset, the Migrant-Led NGOs stated that they are against all sorts of lawlessness and appealed to all migrants and refugees to observe the laws and regulations of Malta.
Substandard housing, unaffordable rent prices, substance abuse, labour exploitation, mental illness, racism, and a sense of uncertainty, hopelessness, and lack of opportunity were identified as factors contributing to social deprivation in these areas, in particular. All those present agreed that this situation is untenable, and requires immediate intervention and enforcement of the law in several areas. These include maintaining order in the community, upholding the law regarding non-discrimination and fair employment, and introducing regulation of an abusive rental market.
All parties present commended this first initiative, and committed to working together to maintain ongoing dialogue and develop positive relationships. They expressed a sense of solidarity and pledged to work towards more peaceful and inclusive communities throughout the Maltese islands.