The Maltese YCW has denounced the exploitation and ghettoization of migrant workers in a strongly worded statement marking the UN’s International Migrants Day, Newsbook reports.
Each year, the day is marked on 18 December, and this year, the UN secretary-general António Guterres highlighted the need for safe migration governance rooted in solidarity, partnership and respect for human rights.
In a statement on Sunday, the Maltese YCW (ŻĦN in Maltese) observed that while migration is often a purely economical choice, some are forcefully displaced and often taken perilous journeys which may turn out to be fatal.
People migrate to seek a better quality of life, to escape war and persecution – to find a place where they can live with human dignity and fulfil their aspirations as human beings, ŻĦN underlined.
The group then decried exploitation of migrant workers in ‘modern’ 21st century Malta where they are often performing jobs with little or no safety, exploited by their employers and landlords, or tricked into non-existent jobs.
“Most often these people must live from day-to-day not knowing if they will be able to earn a day’s wage to feed themselves and their families,” ŻĦN said.
The Young Christian Workers stated that migrants – irrespective of the job they are performing – must be welcomed and given the dignity they deserve.
“This dignity starts by recognising that we are all human beings and therefore deserve every respect irrespective of which country we come from.”
Quoting Pope Francis’ Fratelli Tutti: “the true worth of the different countries of our world is measured by their ability to think as part of the larger human family”, ŻĦN underlined that “we are one human family and a family cares about its members.”
ŻĦN also highlighted the need to recognise that migrants bring with them their traditions which when smartly integrated can enrich the nation’s identity through diversity. However, integration does not mean assimilation, with ŻĦN pointing out that “we should not attempt to mould everyone into one stereotype.”
“Integration is not a flattening process of assimilation but a means to provide all equal opportunities to succeed in life, accompanied by cultural diversity and mutual tolerance.”
It also shed light on the need to provide programmes to help migrants integrate, ranging from motivating them to learn the language, understand the Maltese culture and history.
“We might not admit it, but Maltese are very exclusive and tribal; we see the outsider as a threat. We need to address our fear of the outsider as a nation. On the one hand as a society, we cannot and must not force the ghettoization of those people that choose to make Malta their home, simply because we refused to acknowledge them as brothers and sisters – simply because we are afraid that they will take over.
“On the other hand, we need to provide programmes to help migrants integrate – including assistance and motivation to learn the Maltese language and to understand our way of doing things, where we come from, our culture and our history,” ŻĦN said.
They concluded by saying that only when “we can understand each other can we get to a stage where we can accept each other and flourish as a diverse and functioning multi-cultural nation” as they warned that “leaving multi-culturalism to its own devices will not work (others tried it), we need to make it work with intent for the good of all.”