Migration challenges must be met with ‘conviction and compassion,’ Prime Minister of Malta tells UN

23 September 2016

Highlighting the magnitude of the refugee and migration crisis, the Prime Minister of Malta said that the outcomes of the recent United Nations Summit for Refugees and Migrants will provide impetus to the work on addressing this challenge, the likes of which the world has not seen since World War II.

“We need to respond to this challenge, not with fear, not with dread, not by closing ourselves within walls. But with tenacity, conviction and compassion,” said Prime Minister Joseph Muscat in his address to the General Assembly today.

“This is what drives my country time and again to push for migration to be high on the agenda,” he added, emphasizing that Malta has been working tirelessly to address the concerns and challenges being presented.

He further called for stepping up sharing of information, improved implementation of national enforcement policies and stronger penalties to punish human traffickers and smugglers, whom he equated to the worst category of criminals, to effectively address this challenge.

The Prime Minister of Malta also stressed that this solution needs a collective approach and a global perspective, and highlighted that closer cooperation is essential for and among the countries of origin, transit and destination.

Noting that the threat of terrorism continues to loom over countries and innocent civilians, he added: “No religion and no discrimination can ever be a defensible cause for maiming, terrorising, and killing others.”

Prime Minister Muscat underscored his country’s belief that UN is central in the global fight against terrorism and said that as host to the International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law, Malta believes that the most effective way to counter terrorism is by empowering the rule of law and strengthening the judiciary in the States where such activity is gaining ground.

He further noted that Malta is deeply committed to Euro-Mediterranean dialogue and cooperation and there can be no peace and security in Europe without peace and security in the Mediterranean. He added that this would be the vision that will drive its Presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2017.

In conclusion, Mr. Muscat said that in spite of the atrocities the world has witnessed this past year, the international community must continue to hold on to the principles peace and security, development and human rights.

“We must not allow fear to be the driving and at times paralyzing force. And we must continue to keep in mind the larger picture: to recognize that our diversity is our strength; that to understand each other fortifies our progress; and that one people's concerns are collectively our concerns,” he emphasized.

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