Minister Evarist Bartolo participates in the virtual official launch of the Declaration Against Arbitrary Detention in State-to-State Relations

Reference Number: 16022021, Press Release Issue Date: Feb 16, 2021
The Minister for Foreign and European Affairs, the Hon Evarist Bartolo participated in the virtual official launch of the Declaration Against Arbitrary Detention in State-to-State Relations on February 15.

The Declaration had 58 endorsements, including the European Union and 24 of its Member States. The objective of the Declaration is to build a coalition of international partners that denounce the use of arbitrary detention of foreign nationals to exercise leverage in state-to-state relations; a practice that is contrary to international law.

The Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs hosted the event while other participants included Amal Clooney, representative of the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) and Barrister at Doughty Street Chambers, London (UK) and Kenneth Roth, Executive Director, Human Rights Watch.

In his address, Minister Bartolo stressed that arbitrarily detaining people, one’s own citizens and nationals of other countries; depriving them of any of their rights and subjecting them to ill treatment or punishment; can never be justified.
“From time to time differences are bound to arise in our relations with each other as states but we need to patiently persevere to resolve them peacefully through dialogue within the framework of the rule of law. Let us not use our citizens as bargaining chips or political tools in our negotiations.”

The Hon. Bartolo reiterated that every citizen must be afforded the dignity and rights all human beings deserve: the right to equality, freedom from discrimination, the right to life, liberty, personal security, freedom from slavery and freedom from torture and degrading treatment.

Minister Bartolo recalled that these rights were formulated by persons coming from different political systems, cultures and religions to apply to everyone in the world. Promoting them should not be seen as interfering in the internal affairs of our countries, he added.  “Let us not weaponize human rights by invoking them selectively and only when and where it is politically convenient for us”. 

These rights were enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human rights after the catastrophe of the Second World War, and are as relevant as ever. “They are not only our past but also our future”, he concluded.​