Monday, 4 March 2013

Malta Today: AD is 'natural choice' on civil rights and liberties - Briguglio

Green Party chairperson Michael Briguglio says AD is at the forefront on divorce, free speech, decriminalisation of drugs for personal use, LGBT rights, minority rights and secularization.
Saturday 2 March 2013 - 11:34 by a Staff Reporter

Michael Briguglio (Photo: MediaToday/Ray Attard)

Alternattiva Demokratika is the natural choice for persons who believe in civil rights and civil liberties, AD Chairperson Michael Briguglio said.

Speaking in a press conference in Valletta this morning, Briguglio said: "AD has constantly been on the forefront for the introduction of civil rights and liberties in Malta. In issues such as divorce, free speech, decriminalisation of drugs for personal use, LGBT rights, minority rights and secularization, AD has a historic role to speak up for such issues".

The Green Party chairperson pointed out that AD is also calling for a separation between Church and State, as is the case in modern democracies.

"In parliament we will propose the revision of Article 2 of the Constitution. Whilst recognising the fact that Christianity has contributed substantially to the development of the Maltese community, it should place all religions and beliefs on an equal footing," Briguglio said.

He explained that children should have the right to learn about different religions at school as well as the right to learn ethics without being monopolized by a particular religious belief or philosophy.

AD candidate Silvan Agius added that in regards to civil recognition of minorities and the provision of protection against discrimination, Malta still has a long way to go to guarantee equal rights for all.

"In this respect AD is proposing a holistic national strategy for equality covering various grounds, including gender, sexual orientation and gender identity, disability, age, religion or belief, and race or ethnic origin," Agius said.

He also reiterated the Green Party's commitment for full equality for same-sex couples through marriage equality and equal adoption entitlements.

"We will also ensure that transgender people are treated fairly through adequate gender recognition legislation and the provision of appropriate healthcare," Agius said.

On the decriminalisation of drugs, AD candidate Robert Callus noted "We repeat our call for reviewing our country's failed drug policies especially the decriminalization of drugs for personal use as well as a classification between soft and hard drugs."

He explained that drug users and drug victims should not be criminalised. Instead, Malta should adopt Portugal's model of decriminalization of drugs for personal use, which helped reduce various problems related to hard drugs, Callus said.

"As things stand, both marijuana smokers and heroin addicts, among others, face criminalization in Malta. Unfortunately when it comes to drugs, the other parties were too busy bickering on whether people snorting cocaine in each other's clubs were reported or not than addressing the suffering of thousands of drug users or addicts and their families. Suffering that could be significantly decreased if the right policies are in place."

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