On 11 December 2019, the Government of Malta acceded to the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons.
The 1954 Convention, which now has 94 parties, establishes a framework for the international protection of stateless people and is the most comprehensive codification of their rights.
This is a welcome development in Malta’s approach to protecting people affected by statelessness and comes following the Government's pledge at the UNHCR High Level Segment on Statelessness in October, as well as the extensive joint advocacy efforts of UNHCR and civil society organisations led by ENS member aditus.
However, Malta has acceded to the Convention with reservations to Article 11 (regarding stateless seamen), Article 14 (regarding artistic rights and industrial property) and Article 32 (regarding facilitated naturalisation), which means that these specific provisions will have no legal effect. Of particular concern is the exclusion of stateless people in Malta from a facilitated route to resolving their statelessness through naturalisation.
Malta is still not party to the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, which we would urge the Government to consider, building on the positive steps it has taken through accession to the 1954 Convention towards the global goal of eradicating statelessness.
For more information on law, policy and practice in Malta with regards to statelessness, have a look at our Statelessness Index.