Cases of murderous racism, wherever they happen, are never isolated incidents but always connected to a context of inequality and normalised behaviour of hatred, the National Commission for the Promotion of Equality (NCPE) said on Monday.

It expressed its grave concern following the arraignment of two members of the Armed Forces of Malta charged with the racially-motived killing of Lassana Cisse Souleymane and the wounding of two other African migrants in Ħal Far on the April 6.

Read: Politicians, activists and citizens unite in horror at news of migrant murder arrests

“The NCPE considers this to be a most heinous crime, where a person was murdered because of his skin-colour; a crime that has instilled fear in communities in Malta. We should also bear in mind that the potential victims of this hatred are numerous, including Maltese citizens of a different skin colour and all those viewed as different and inferior by people harbouring such dangerous sentiments,” the commission said.

It called on society and institutions to embark on a soul-searching exercise to see where they failed and to take the necessary action to ensure that all social groups in Malta are considered and treated as equally valuable members of society.

It said the planned strengthening of the NCPE through the establishment of a Human Rights and Equality Commission would enhance its ability to address cases of racism and discrimination, including hate-speech.

In the meantime, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in Malta commended the work of the police force for its investigation but said it was deeply perturbed by racial motivation.

“The Armed Forces of Malta has rescued and continues to save the lives of thousands of refugees and migrants at sea. A thorough investigation and review is required to root out any rogue elements within the AFM. We stand ready to engage with the local authorities on this issue,” it said.

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