The vast majority of migrants were at risk of harm if returned to their home countries. Photo: Darrin Zammit Lupi
Times of Malta
Tuesday, July 09, 2013
Malta had the highest positive decision rate in the EU last year
when it came to processing applications for the international protection
of migrants, according to a report.
Ninety per cent of the 1,590 first instance applications lodged were
accepted, with the vast majority being for subsidiary protection.
This is given when there are substantial grounds to believe that, if
returned to his country of origin, the applicant would suffer harm.
While the number of applications was small by European standards –
considering that France decided almost 60,000 cases – they were very
significant for Malta given its small population, the report says.
This emerged in the 2012 Annual Report on the Situation of Asylum in
the EU. Compiled by the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), the
report provides a comprehensive overview of the requests for
international protection made in the EU.
Data shows that the Maltese Refugee Commissioner received a total of
2,080 applications for international protection, making 2012 the second
highest year since 2001 in terms of the number of irregular arrivals on
the island and the number of applications for international protection
Figures released recently by the National Statistics Office showed
that nearly 1,900 irregular immigrants landed on Maltese shores on board
27 boats last year.
The EASO report revealed that more than 86 per cent of the
applications were lodged by third country nationals who entered Malta
irregularly by sea. Malta was overwhelmingly faced with applications for
international protection from citizens of Somalia, Eritrea and Syria
who were forced to flee their countries due to a well-founded fear of
persecution or other serious human rights violations. These were
therefore granted subsidiary protection.
The report states that in view of the significant pressures facing
Malta, and following an inter-ministerial pledging conference organised
by the European Commission in May 2011, relocation of protected people
from Malta to other member states took place during 2012.
Between January 2012 and January this year, 217 people were relocated to countries including Germany, Poland and Spain.
The report highlights that there were a total of 335,365 applicants
for international protection in the EU in 2012, an 11 per cent increase
compared to 2011. Of these, 260,575 were new applicants.
Large numbers of appli-cations were made in Germany (77,660), France (61,455) and Sweden (43,945).
“The number of applications made in other states such as Malta
(2,080), Luxembourg (2,055), and Cyprus (1,635) were also significant
compared to their population,” the report says.
While Afghanistan remained the first country of origin in terms of
total applicants, the significant increase of applicants from citizens
of Syria led this country to become the largest single source of new
applicants in 2012.