Attacks and intimidation won’t work

April 23, 2020 12:42 pm

BirdLife Malta strongly condemns the attacks levelled against the organisation by two Government Ministers and a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for the Maltese Government following yesterday’s filing of a Complaint with the Commissioner of Police requesting the withdrawal of hunting licences which were issued illegally by the Ministry for Gozo. All licences for this year’s spring hunting season are invalid and anyone who is out hunting with an invalid licence is breaking the law.

Since its inception BirdLife Malta never had any political goal, and worked with different governments with one sole interest: protecting the natural enviroment

BirdLife Malta officials filing the Complaint

BirdLife Malta would like to make it clear that since its inception in 1962 it never had any political goal or aim. BirdLife Malta embraces hundreds of members with different political views, and has always worked hand in hand with different governments with one sole interest: safeguarding Malta and Gozo’s natural enviroment.

It is a pity that because BirdLife Malta is working to ensure that Malta’s natural environment is protected so that Maltese citizens enjoy a better quality of life and we have a truly modern European state, you still find politicans – whatever side they are on – who openly attack our work in a clear attempt of intimidation which was also intended to incite hatred against BirdLife Malta and its officials.

This is an untouchable right guaranteed by Malta’s Constitution, and which BirdLife Malta will continue to fulfill, regardless of who is in government.

The press conference held yesterday

It is worth reminding that following the 2015 referendum in which thousands of people exercised their right to vote, and which was narrowly lost with a few hundred votes, there was a political commitment – by then Prime Minister Joseph Muscat – that Malta’s natural environment would be safeguarded and environmental laws enforced. Unfortunately this is not happening today and police are not even doing what is expected from them because they don’t even have the time to perform their duties in the national interest and as required by the country’s laws, apart from the lack of adequate resources that they have been equipped with.

BirdLife Malta calls on political leaders to not only be more cautious in their criticism, but to also appreciate the altruist and valuable work carried out by enviromental NGOs in our country without any compensation or personal benefit. In contrast to others, BirdLife Malta and other eNGOs are not privileged, and they don’t for instance enjoy the privilege of roaming the countryside with a gun shooting at any bird which flies over the Maltese Islands.

Read the Maltese version of the press release here.

Gozo Minister Clint Camilleri’s reaction
Minister Silvio Schembri’s FB post
Labour MEP Alex Agius Saliba’s FB post