NGO PRESS STATEMENT

mamadou kamara

Mamadou Kamara

NGO PRESS STATEMENT ON THE DEATH OF MAMADOU KAMARA IN DETENTION SERVICE CUSTODY ON JUNE 30

1st July 2012

Appalled and saddened by the tragic death of Mamadou Kamara in Detention Service (DS) custody on June 30, 2012 we the undersigned NGOs unequivocally condemn this act of violence and call upon the Government to take all the steps necessary to ensure that his death, not the first to occur in such circumstances, is the last.

According to press reports, Mamadou attempted to escape from detention on Friday afternoon. He was captured by DS officers, who took him to Paola polyclinic in the early hours of Saturday June 30, in line with established standard operating procedures. He was found to be dead on arrival, having sustained various injuries to his groin and lower back, presumably as a result of being severely beaten.

“We believe that these and other violent incidents that have occurred over the years demonstrate that Malta’s initial reception system has repeatedly failed and that the costs of the mandatory detention policy far outweigh the potential benefits for all concerned,” Dr. Katrine Camilleri, JRS Malta Director.

We are also concerned that political discourse on the part of the Government and the main opposition has contributed to the dehumanization of asylum seekers. The consequences of this are nothing less than horrific.

Malta’s human rights obligations demand that the individual officers involved in the incident are called to account for their actions, yet we believe that this alone is insufficient. “Malta is duty-bound to ensure that all persons deprived of their personal liberty – for whatever reasons – are effectively protected from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Their right to life must be safeguarded and any alleged violations must be investigated and perpetrators brought to justice. Importantly, any institutional failures should be addressed in order to prevent future violations,” Dr. Neil Falzon, aditus foundation Director.

We therefore call upon the Office of the Prime Minister to demonstrate its true commitment to ensure that all persons are treated with the equal respect and dignity by:

  • Ensuring that the present inquiry is truly independent and effective, and that its findings, recommendations and any consequential actions are made public;
     
  • Conducting a comprehensive and inclusive review of Malta’s policy of mandatory detention, including implementing non-custodial alternatives for asylum seekers and migrants in an irregular situation for whom there is little or no prospect of removal;
     
  • Acting speedily and decisively to implement recommendations made following inquiries into such incidents;
     
  • Strengthening the mandate and capacity of the Detention Visitors Board, the body established by law to monitor conditions in detention, to fulfil the onerous task with which it has been entrusted, not least by making its recommendations binding on the Commander of the Detention Service.

Non-governmental Organisations:

aditus foundation, Jesuit Refugee Service (Malta), SOS Malta, Integra Foundation, Migrants Network for Equality, Emigrants’ Commission, GetUpStandUp, Organisation for Friendship in Diversity, KOPIN, Foundation for Shelter and Support to Migrants.


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