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Migrants' beds in open air in Valletta

A group of 25 asylum seekers have been evicted from the Hal Far refugee centres and are sleeping at the entrance of the capital, in Triton Fountain square.

The constant arrival of boats have put strain on the island's capacity of shelter, a situation that has led to the eviction of asylum seekers still waiting for their asylum request to be processed, an administrative step which according to regulation should not exceed six months.

Yet migrants can wait more than a year before being called for the interview at the refugee commission. Abdalla ( name was changed) has been waiting for two years now to have the results of his asylum request.

According to regulations, the centres cannot accommodate migrants for more than 12 months, to up to 18 months, except for extreme humanitarian cases. That period of time should allow them to learn the language, the culture and endeavour to find an accommodation into the community.

The migrants evicted early this month are from Sudan and and less than a handful of them can speak basic English. They have "served" their time in the centres and should be ready for the community; but they are not.

Concerned individuals and civil society organisations provided them with food and water. During the day, they found shelter in the garden opposite the terminus bus in Valletta to escape the burning sun.

On Wednesday, they were gathered at the entrance of the Agency for the Welfare of Asylum seekers ( AWAS) in Floriana. A solution seemed to have been found, they should be allowed in Marsa open centre.

Pictures: Regine Dang

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