This year, Malta has seen positive improvements in its asylum policy, in particular a decreased use of detention, according to the updated Asylum Information Database (AIDA) report written by ECRE members, aditus Foundation and Jesuit Refugee Service Malta. The decrease is due to the lower numbers of people reaching Malta by boat; only 99 people in 2015. Following an agreement signed by Malta and Italy, all those rescued in Maltese territorial waters and the Search and Rescue Zone were disembarked in Italy.
In 2015, the majority of asylum seekers in Malta arrived regularly, by plane, and as a consequence were not detained. As a result, Lyster Barracks, one of the detention facilities, was closed in mid-2015 as no persons were detained there. Moreover, an Initial Reception Centre with a capacity of 200 places was established in early 2015 for unaccompanied children and children accompanied by up to two family members. The intention is to avoid the detention of minors, yet it is unclear whether the conditions of stay in that centre would, in practice, amount to deprivation of liberty.