Parliamentary Ombudsman of Malta receives the High Commissioner of India to Malta

The Parliamentary Ombudsman Judge Emeritus Joseph Zammit McKeon welcomed the High Commissioner of India to Malta, H.E. Gloria Gangte, on a courtesy visit to the Office of the Ombudsman.

The High Commissioner of India acknowledged Malta’s overall strategic importance in the Mediterranean region. She highlighted Malta’s proximity to Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa, and commended Malta for its initiatives and abilities to forge a like-minded agenda. Emphasising the robust and longstanding bilateral ties between the two countries, she underlined the strong relations that have persisted over the years.

In response, the Ombudsman explained the role and functions of his Office as a Constitutional Institution. He dwelt on the fact that the Office of the Ombudsman does not extend its services only to Maltese or EU country nationals, but also to third country nationals, including persons coming from India.

He informed the High Commissioner for India that the presence in Malta of nationals from India is at present significant indeed.  In fact, there are 15,087 nationals from India holding Single Work Permits, and another 2,104 in possession of Residence Permits.  He assured that the doors of the Office of the Ombudsman are wide open for all TCNs including Indian nationals who have complaints with regard to acts or omissions of the public administration.

The High Commissioner referred to the challenges encountered in the lengthy application processes for Indian nationals. She mentioned ongoing discussions with Identità to streamline these procedures, aiming to ease the bureaucratic complexities faced by the Indian nationals.

Shifting the conversation to human rights, the High Commissioner, drawing on her experience as a former delegate to the UN Human Rights Council, expressed her special interest on the matter.

She acknowledged the Ombudsman’s recent declaration commemorating Human Rights Day. The declaration dealt with Malta’s upcoming challenges and responsibilities, particularly in establishing a National Human Rights Institution (NHRI).

The Ombudsman proposed leveraging his existing constitutional authority to form the NHRI, noting that legislation currently in force aligns with the Paris Principles and with international practices where Ombudsmen in the various countries also as NHRIs.

In conclusions, the Ombudsman expressed his readiness to assist the Indian community in Malta. He underscored the role of diplomatic missions as key stakeholders, representing persons who might not be aware of their rights to access the services of the Ombudsman.

The High Commissioner appreciated the warmth extended by Ombudsman to her and his openness in discussing issues of mutual interests.

 

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