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Press
27/ 01/ 12
The Right To Feel Safe

The incident that happened in this locality three weeks ago is a reminder of the fact that being part of a minority continues to pose certain risks. That being gay or lesbian or part of an ethnic minority or sometimes just being a woman can put one at risk of being assaulted, violated and discriminated against. No one should become a target because of their identity and when this basic right is threatened then measures should be in place to ensure that justice is done. Society’s message should be unequivocal leaving no room for doubt.

For this reason we urge the Minister for Justice to move forward with extending the scope of the hate crime legislation to include other grounds. While this may not be enough to prevent other incidents in the future it shows those of us who could be victims of such hate crime that justice and the law are on our side.

Any legal amendment needs to be backed by education and awareness raising towards all members of society, but especially children and young people who are both potential victims and at times perpetrators of hate crime. A respect for diversity is an important value in any democracy and our families, educators and educational institutions are important contributors towards building a culture of respect that celebrates diversity in all its forms.

This call for legal reform is being proposed and supported by:

Aditus

AD Malta –Green Youth

Drachma

Drachma Parents Group

Graffitti

Integra Foundation

LGBT Labour

The Malta Gay Rights Movement

We Are


Suggested amendments to the Criminal Code, Chapter 9 of the Laws of Malta in relation to hate crimes to include crimes motivated on the grounds of gender and sexual orientation. 

 

TITLE II

OF CRIMES AGAINST THE PUBLIC PEACE

82A. Incitement to hatred against a Group

82A. (1) Whosoever uses any threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or displays and written or printed material which is threatening, abusive or insulting, or otherwise conducts himself in such a manner, with intent thereby to stir up violence or hatred against a group on the grounds of race or ethnic origin, gender, religion or belief, or sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression or whereby such violence or hatred is likely, having regard to all the circumstances, to be stirred up shall, on conviction be liable to imprisonment for a term from six to eighteen months.

(2) For the purposes of the foregoing subarticle "violence or hatred" means violence or hatred against a group of persons in Malta defined by reference to colour, race, religion or belief, descent, nationality (including citizenship) or ethnic  or  national  origins, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression  or against a member of such a group.

 

82 C. Condoning, denying or trivialising crimes against peace against a group

82C. (1) Whosoever publicly condones, denies or grossly trivialises crimes against peace directed against a group of persons defined by reference to race, colour, religion or belief, descent, national or ethnic origin, gender or sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression or against a member of such a group when the conduct is carried out in a manner -

(a) likely to incite to violence or hatred against such a group or a member of such a group; or

(b) likely to disturb public order or which is threatening, abusive or insulting, hall, on conviction be liable to imprisonment for a term from eight months to two years.

(2) For the purposes of this article a crime against peace means conduct consisting in:

(a) the planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;

(b) participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts referred to in paragraph (a).

GENERAL PROVISION APPLICABLE TO OFFENCES  WHICH ARE RACIALLY AGGRAVATED OR MOTIVATED BY HATRED AGAINST A GROUP

83B. General provision

83B. The punishment established for any offence shall be increased by one to two degrees when the offence is aggravated or motivated, wholly or in part, on the grounds of race or ethnic origin, gender, religion or belief, or sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression within the meaning of sub-articles (3) to (6), both inclusive, of article 222A.

Sub-title II

OF WILFUL OFFENCES AGAINST THE PERSON

Section 214 to 222 relate to crimes against the person ranging from grievous (S. 216 to S. 220) to slight bodily harm (S. 221). Section  222A lays down that: 

222A Increase of punishment in certain cases

222A. (1) ...

(2) The punishments established in the foregoing provisions of this sub-title shall also be increased by one to two degrees when the offence is aggravated or motivated on the grounds of race or ethnic origin, gender, religion or belief, or sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression  within the meaning of the following subarticles.

(3) An offence is aggravated or motivated on grounds of race or ethnic origin, gender, religion or belief, or sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression if:

(a) at the time of committing the offence, or immediately before or after the commission of the offence, the offender demonstrates towards the victim of the offence hostility, aversion  or contempt based on the victim’s membership (or presumed membership) of a racial or religious group, on the victim’s gender or sexual orientation; or

(b) the offence is motivated, wholly or partly, by hostility, aversion or contempt towards members of a racial, ethnic or religious group or pertaining to a particular gender or sexual orientation  based on their membership of that group, gender or sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

(4) In subarticle (3)(a):

"membership", in relation to a racial or religious group, includes association with members of that group;

"presumed" means presumed by the offender.

(5) It is immaterial for the purposes of subarticle (3)(a) or (b) whether or not the offender’s hostility is also based, to any extent, on any other factor not mentioned in that those paragraphs.

(6) In this article:

"racial or ethnic group" means a group of persons defined by reference to race, descent, colour, nationality (including citizenship) or ethnic or national origins;

"religious group" means a group of persons defined by reference to religious belief or lack of religious belief.

“sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression” means lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.

 

Sub-title IX

OF THREATS, PRIVATE VIOLENCE AND HARASSMENT

Articles 249 to 251B prohibit threats by means of writing, blackmail, private violence, harassment and causing others to fear that violence will be used against them. Article 251D lays down increase of punishment in certain cases:

251D Increase of punishment in certain cases

251D. The punishments established in the foregoing provisions of this sub-title shall be increased by one to two degrees when the offence is aggravated or motivated on the grounds of race or ethnic origin, gender, religion or belief, or sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression within the meaning of sub-articles (3) to (6), both inclusive, of article 222A

 

Sub-title IV

OF CRIMES AGAINST PUBLIC SAFETY, AND OF INJURY TO PROPERTY

Articles 311 and 312 relate to malicious explosions; 314A prohibits discharges of lethal devices; 316 to 319 relate to arson; 320 prohibits the springing of mines; and 325 to the spoil, damage or injury to or upon any movable or immovable property belonging to another person.

325A Increase of punishment in certain cases

325A. The punishments established in the foregoing provisions of this sub-title shall be increased by one to two degrees when the offence is aggravated or motivated on the grounds of race or ethnic origin, gender, religion or belief, or sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression  within the meaning of sub-articles (3) to (6), both inclusive, of article 222A

              (2) For the purposes of this article "relevant offence" means any of the offences under articles 311, 312, 314A, 316, 317 to 320, both inclusive, and 325.

 

Other Suggested Amendments

PRESS ACT - CHAPTER 248

6. Racism and similar offences

6.     Whosoever, by any means mentioned in article 3, shall threaten, insult, or expose to hatred, persecution or contempt, a person or group of persons because of their race, creed, colour, nationality, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability as defined in Article 2 of the Equal Opportunities (Persons with Disability) Act or national or ethnic origin shall be liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months and to a fine (multa)

 

National Gay Helpline

If at any time you require support or you feel like you would like to express your thoughts freely to a person who will understand you, send us an email on support@maltagayrights.org

You may also call the National Gay Helpline, run by MGRM... Tel: +356 21430006 / +356 99255559

The Drachma Parents Group is also an active group within Drachma.  Their mission is that of providing support to parents and friends of LGBT people, read more

contACT

If at any time you require support or you feel like you would like to express your thoughts freely to a person who will understand you, send us an email on support@maltagayrights.org

You may also call the National Gay Helpline, run by MGRM... Tel: +356 21430006 / +356 99255559

Malta Gay Rights Movement (MGRM)

32, Parish Street ,
Mosta ,
MST 2021,
Malta (Europe).
T: +356 2143 0009
M: +356 9925 5559
E: mgrm@maltagayrights.org

The Drachma Parents Group is also an active group within Drachma.  Their mission is that of providing support to parents and friends of LGBT people, read more