Statement on the death of a seven-year old girl

The Platform of Human Rights Organisations in Malta (PHROM) is extremely shocked at news of the sudden death of a seven-year old girl. Whilst little information is publicly available as to the circumstances of this terrible incident, such deaths are a shock to us all and warrant the highest level of scrutiny and attention.

Under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, it is the primary duty of the State to “ensure the child such protection and care as is necessary for his or her well-being”. When the State makes arrangements for children, with or without their families, to be accommodated in non-state institutions, such as those run by non-governmental organisations, the State is not relieved of its duties in relation to the children.

At all times and under all circumstances, the best interests of the child should be the primary consideration in all interactions with children. With children who are vulnerable or at risk of vulnerability, these interests are of course more pressing.

We therefore urge the authorities to ensure a prompt and thorough investigation into the circumstances leading to this girl’s death. In particular, it is imperative to clarify whether any preventive measures could have been taken to avoid this loss. This will help maintain or restore confidence in Malta’s institutions tasked to provide care to vulnerable families, including to vulnerable migrant families, and ensure that such incidents do not occur in the future.