Updated 3.50pm with Home Affairs Minister comments

 Europe and the Middle East's predilection for building walls is "creating a new style of apartheid," Archbishop Charles Scicluna said today. 

Noting that people nowadays found it hard to do things unless they tangibly benefited them, he warned that "paralysing mistrust" could lead down a slippery path. 

"We have walls being built in the Holy Land, and walls being built in Europe, and we are creating a new style of apartheid. If you go to the Holy Land it is so obvious, and if we continue building walls in Europe it will become more and more obvious in the future," the Archbishop warned his audience. 

Archbishop Scicluna was speaking during a symposium titled "Mercy towards Immigrants" organised by the Faculty of Theology. René Micallef S.J. was the keynote speaker.

Education Minister Evarist Bartolo, Home Affairs Minister Carmelo Abela, PN MP Francis Zammit Dimech and the Prime Minister's wife Michelle Muscat were among those attending. 

Solidarity and national interest our guiding principles - Carmelo Abela

Home Affairs Minister Carmelo Abela told the symposium that the government's immigration reforms were informed by both humanitarian and national interest concerns. 

He acknowledged that the two could sometimes not be the easiest of bedfellows, although he insisted "one does not go against the other." 

Dr Abela said that Malta was sticking to its relocation obligations. It has relocated 15 people who were seeking asylum in Italy and another 17 from Greece, he said. The country would soon relocate 14 people from Turkey, in line with its EU obligations, he said. 

"This is a good thing - not just because Malta can expect to receive the same help if it finds itself in a similar situation, but also because it is the right thing to do," the minister said.

He reminded the audience that much work needed to be done to tackle the root causes of migration. "This will require investment in people, job creation and political stability." 

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