Malta has continued to strengthen its international reputation as a country with a strong regulatory framework that respected human rights, the government said.

It said in a statement the country had this week passed its third United Nations’ universal periodic review.

The UN reviews all member states by analysing what they did to fulfil their human rights obligations within the framework of the Human Rights Council’s work to address violations. The review is carried out every five years.

This year's review urged Malta to more aggressively address money laundering, human trafficking and the funding for terrorism. The review noted that Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder brought to light several shortcomings in the state of the rule of law.

In its statement on Saturday, the government said that while in 2009 Malta had accepted just 37% of the 46 recommendations made, in 2013, following the change in government, it accepted 53% of the 134 recommendations.

Consistently, in the most recent review, it accepted 72% of the 156 recommendations received and the country’s substantial progress in the human rights sector was praised globally.

It resulted that Malta was among the best UN countries and this situation could improve as Malta was still in time to reply to 38 recommendations that were pending until next March, the government said.

Read: Do more to protect journalists, Malta told at UN human rights review

It added that this was all this was due to a change in direction that led to a change in mentality. The government in Malta had been transformed from a closed to an open one and the state was changed from conservative to progressive. The people were no longer fearful but they embraced diversity.

A Malta of censorship had become a Malta of freedom of expression. This was, however, the point of departure and not the destination.

In the most recent review, the government reiterated its commitment to continue strengthening human rights, primarily through the setting up of a national institution for human rights, it said.

The government committed itself to work closely with civil society in the fight against racism, hate, gender-based violence and human trafficking.

It was also to continue working to strengthen freedom of expression and improve court efficiency with the aim of improving its position in this most important sector of public administration.

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