Malta has been severely reproached on the international scene for violating the human rights of irregular migrants. The criticism of Malta’s detention policy has been both forceful and widespread. It has come from a variety of sources: intergovernmental organisations such as the different UN bodies and the Council of Europe, the European Commission, different agencies of the European Union and in particular the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs of the European Parliament (LIBE); as well as international organisations like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Médecins du Monde and Médecins Sans Frontières, amongst others. In January 2009, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention criticised Maltese treatment of irregular migrants and openly stated that ‘the detention regime [that] immigrants in an irregular situation are subjected to falls far short of international human rights law’.1 This widespread criticism stands in contrast to the usual relatively good record of the Maltese Government in relation to international human rights obligations.