Pandemics and Policy: A Human Rights Based Approach to Migration in Malta



Hord, Olivia

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The COVID-19 pandemic created an unprecedented public health crisis that intensified inequalities worldwide. Pandemics should not allow for neglecting or diminishing human rights, but rather incorporate the rights of all individuals when proposing policies. Marginalized populations are often excluded when forming policy decisions and are often disproportionately affected during health crises. As such, this dissertation will examine how Malta upheld its human rights obligations towards migrants through policy creation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through a systematic review of policies created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic this research will highlight how one policy, L.N. 92 of 2020, led to conditions in society that violated the human rights of migrants in Malta. The policy was cross-referenced against the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the European Convention on Human Rights, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child to explore how Malta failed to uphold its human rights obligations to migrants based on incidents reported from the People for Change Foundation. To deepen the analysis these incidents were analyzed within the conflict analysis and resolution theoretical frameworks of Galtung’s (1969) structural violence and Cobb’s (2013) narrative theory. The results yielded from this research demonstrate that while Malta was compliant with international law to institute the travel ban, the situations that emerged from the implementation of the travel ban violated the human rights of migrants and emphasizes how adopting a human rights-based approach to policies can be employed to ensure that marginalized populations are included and respected during policy creation.



Human rights, Pandemics, Migrants, Policy, Structural violence