Byron Camilleri has defended the government’s message that Malta is “full up” of migrants and insisted this had nothing to do with alleged racially motivated attacks by police officers. 

The home affairs minister was asked whether comments, including by Prime Minister Robert Abela in recent years, that Malta cannot take any more migrants may have laid the groundwork for alleged violent attacks on migrants. 

Three police officers have been charged with abducting and assaulting foreign nationals. 

In 2019 two soldiers were also charged with shooting and murdering a migrant and injuring another in what is believed to have been a racist attack. 

Byron Camilleri speaking to media after three police officers were charged with kidnapping and beating up migrants. Video: Chris Sant Fournier

Camilleri on Tuesday said that the political commentary that Malta could not handle any more migrants was “realistic” and came at a time when the island was facing pressure from an influx of migrants. 

He said the government’s message on migration was a positive one and that the government would this week be tabling new legal provisions to strengthen migrant rights. 

Turning back to the arraignment of the three police officers, Camilleri praised the police administration for the way the case was handled internally and said the fact that police officers had reported their own colleagues showed that there was an effective system to root out racism. 

He said that the force has internal structures to assess the situation and if an internal inquiry or report was needed to take a deeper look at what could have gone wrong, he would welcome it.

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