Malta: New Refugee Commissioner appointed
Martine Cassar has been appointed to be Malta's third Refugee Commissioner, succeeding Mario Guido Friggieri (2007). She is a law graduate from the University of Malta and the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights. Prior to her appointment, she headed the Maltese office of the International Organization for Migration. Dr Cassar has been active in the field of migration and refugee law for more than five years. Read more
The Office of the Refugee Commissioner has been instrumental in urging more favourable integration policies and strategies in the past, through EU funded projects and research for example. It is responsible for receiving, processing and determining outcomes of applications for international protection in Malta, as stipulated in its 2001 Refugees Act (Chapter 420 of the Laws of Malta) which provided for its establishment. Read the document in the attachment section for a detailed study on integration by the Office.
Although the Office of the Refugee Commissioner opened its doors on 18 June 2001, the first commissioner Charles Buttigieg was only appointed on 1 January 2002. It then became fully operational and started to independently deal with applications for international protection which were referred to UNHCR for final determination, prior to this date. 'The Office’s fundamental objective is to ensure a totally independent, fair, efficient and swift eligibility determination process while, at the same time, guaranteeing the best quality possible regarding the hearing, analysis and determination of applications.' as stipulated on its website.
Dr. Cassar is the first female Refugee Commissioner appointed since 2002. Her 'humane' vision for the Office is briefly presented in this article of the Times of Malta.