PRESS RELEASE BY THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT: “I urge each and every one of us to recognise and promote a culture of positive peace, as the active citizens of our nations”

Yesterday, President of Malta Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca delivered an opening speech during a policy discussion which also included the launch of a research document entitled Crossing the Mediterranean Sea by Boat: Mapping and Documenting Migratory Journeys and Experiences, published by the University of Warwick, the University of Malta, and the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy.

At the beginning of her speech the President paid tribute to over 30 people, mostly infants, who recently lost their lives in the Mediterranean. Let us keep the loss of these lives in our minds as a reminder of the real toll which migration is taking in our region and across our world, the President said.

The President said that the research which was presented, and which she had the opportunity to be given an overview of when visiting the University of Warwick in 2016, is not only keeping us updated about recent developments in policy, but is also proposing a way forward to improve the policy responses by Member States of the European Union.

President Coleiro Preca stated that for more light to be shed on the struggles which people have faced and the challenges which they are still facing, we need to understand the economic, social, as well as the psychological reasons as to why these people feel compelled to make dangerous journeys across the Mediterranean.

Referring to the research being presented, the President said that the research opens a new perspective on the effects that our policy frameworks are having on the lives of migrants, including their expectations and their concerns. This research puts a human face and tells a human story, replacing the all-too-often anonymous statistics, the President said whilst adding that it is these human narratives which should determine the direction and the implementation of our legislative actions and policies.

The President also said that these experiences should make us dig deeper into the diverse and complex drivers of this phenomenon, and that they remind us of the need to review and to revise the ways we engage with the different communities who undertake perilous journeys in search of a better life.

The President reiterated her appeal for everyone to continue working together, to urge national and international authorities to ensure that safe and legal routes into countries of safety, are made available�an availability which will prevent people from endangering their lives during perilous journeys which often end in tragedies.

Alluding to the fact that the 25th of May is International Missing Children’s Day, the President echoed her call to the international community to ensure the necessary safeguards to protect all children from going missing, a call which the President had initially made during a conference which was organised earlier in 2017 by Missing Children Europe and the President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society.

We cannot allow the fundamental rights of children to be compromised. The dignity of children cannot be a fairytale or simply a platitude, the President said.

President Coleiro Preca reminded everyone that, as citizens of democratic countries, we must always, and in all ways, emphasise the effective implementation of the universality of our human rights, to safeguard the basic dignity of every human being, whomever they might be, and wherever they might come from.

Lastly, the President urged each and every individual to recognise and promote a culture of positive peace, whether as academics, as policymakers, or as civil society activists, but most of all, as the active citizens of our nations.

Positive peace means that we continue to promote a systemic, structural and cultural transformation of our status quo. Positive peace means that we must develop a culture of well-being, which nurtures dignified and respectful relationships within oneself, with other persons, and with other groups within society. We must all be connected together, in one resilient, prosperous, and inclusive community of life, President Coleiro Preca concluded.

Source: Government of Malta