The citizenship-for-sale saga has inspired a human rights activist to try and raise €650,000 to buy a Maltese passport for the “most deserving” asylum seeker.

Antoine Cassar, a Maltese writer and human rights campaigner based in Luxembourg, has created an online crowd-funding project and is hoping it will be approved so the money can be raised.

For Mr Cassar, this is “partly a political protest” and “partly a collective show of solidarity”.

He is keeping his fingers crossed that the project will get the seal of approval from – a respected website that supports artists and helps to finance projects collectively.

Raising €650,000 would be no easy task. People can pledge an amount of money online starting from €10.

“The money pledged is not taken off people’s credit cards unless the targeted amount is reached.

“It’s a way of encouraging people to put their money where their mouth is,” Mr Cassar said.

However, if the sum is not reached, at least an important message would have been sent out, he said.

“Citizenship and the rights it entails – including freedom of movement – is a fundamental human right, not a privilege that can be bought by the elite,” Mr Cassar said.

He said citizenship should not be used as a means to institutionalise and protect global apartheid. “Either all citizenships are equally valid, or none.”

If the €650,000 is actually raised, then he said he would work with a Maltese NGO that approved of the crowd-funding project to suggest the name of “the asylum seeker most deserving of receiving the money to purchase citizenship”.

Even at that stage, there would be no guarantee that the Maltese citizenship and passport would be awarded to this person.

“There’s still the Henley & Partners due diligence test, for which we’d need an extra €7,500 – and they have to guarantee they are ultra ‘high net worth’ individuals,” he acknowledged.

“It’s a show of solidarity towards the people who are very obnoxiously slighted by the entire citizenship and passport business, and meanwhile are forced to continue their journey from one cage to the next, until they end up stateless and stuck,” he said referring to asylum seekers.

This is a plight close to Mr Cassar’s heart.

He is founder of and the author of Passaport, a poem of humanity available in eight languages, highlighting a long list of human rights crushed by the consequences of the discriminatory immigration policy of several governments.

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us