PRESS RELEASE BY THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT: ‘All stakeholders must work together in synergy to promote a consistent and powerful commitment to solidarity’

President of Malta Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca delivered the opening speech at an international seminar organised by the Focolare Movement, entitled ‘Law as a Tool for Integration in a Multicultural Society’, at Sala Antoine de Paule, San Anton Palace.

In her opening remarks, President Coleiro Preca commended the work of the Focolare movement, labelling it a ‘movement that endeavours, with dedication, to spread the great message of love, in a world that has become so narcissistic and self-centred.’

The President quoted the Canadian Catholic philosopher Marshall McLuhan, who said that ‘First, we shape our tools, and afterwards, our tools shape us’. The President said that her interpretation of McLuhan’s words ‘is that the power of the law should be there to shape and safeguard our most important values�values of universal human rights and fundamental freedoms, which should provide us with a respectful and dignified way of life.’

‘The law must never deviate, from its responsibility to protect, and promote the full dignity of every human beingm whoever, and wherever they are’

The President said that, for this reason ‘we must be aware of the laws we create and the policies we formulate,’ adding that we must also be aware that our laws are not static, but must be open to processes of reform.

In light of the topic of the seminar, President Coleiro Preca stated that, just as all relationships grow and mature, the relationships which are codified in our legal systems must be open to ongoing natural changes. In this way, the President said our legal systems can ensure that they reflect our aspirations to secure peace and wellbeing for all.

For this reason, the President stated that the seminar organised by the Focolare Movement is an interesting one as it is focusing on a set of very particular relationships which are causing some particular concerns to our nations, apart from being an important seminar given that it serves as an opportunity for us to further educate ourselves about the connection that exists between our laws and these relationships.

‘The moment newcomers arrive in countries of transit or destination, relationships begin to develop between different individuals and communities’

The President said that people come in continuous proximity with one another, not only due to basic needs, such as employment and housing, but also due to social and cultural circumstances. In this regard, the President appealed to authorities and societies, saying that they should think of this process of connection in terms of an inclusive and participative approach�a kind of approach ‘that we are still lacking in.’

‘I strongly believe that the responsibility for successful inclusion entails a shared effort among national authorities, civil society activists, international organisations, and migrants themselves,’ the President said.

Appealing for synergy between all stakeholders to promote a consistent and powerful commitment to solidarity, the President said that migrants’ contributions to a receiving society must be valued. Such a dynamic is crucial and must be regulated by our laws and policies.

‘Newcomers to a society must be informed’

The President said that if newcomers to a society are not informed, they will not be in a position to access even their most fundamental human rights, nor will they be able to fully participate in the life of society.

The President said that we must be aware of the fact that while it is crucial for us to value interactions at an individual level, we must also highlight the systemic and structural difficulties which are faced by newcomers to a society when they come into contact with national and international institutions.

President Coleiro Preca said that when migrants encounter an educational system, or other structures which regulate employment and healthcare, then they necessarily come face-to-face with a series of laws, regulations, and executive organisations.

They are also affected by unwritten practices, subtle customs, cultural expectations and attitudes. ‘These further complicate the ways in which a receiving society functions for migrants,’ and ‘it is on this level that inclusion or exclusion, befriending or alienation, opportunities or disconnections, frequently take place.’

The President said that for this reason, ‘at reception, the attitudes of our institutions must be mirrored by a humane and inclusive culture of openness to others.’

In conclusion, President Coleiro Preca reiterated the fact that ‘it is when we work in synergy with a vision and a long-term strategy to promote a culture of positive peace and meaningful well-being, that we can ensure that each and every human being is given his or her rightful fundamental dignity in Malta, in the European Union, and across the world.’

Source: Government of Malta