According to the Swedish Minister for Integration Erik Ullenhag, Malta is the benchmark of how governments should implement LGBTI rights. He said “Ten years ago, Malta and Sweden differed substantially on LGBTI issues and civil rights. Now we’re on the same line of thought.”

Malta had a negative record regarding respect for the rights of LGBTI individuals in the past, according to Maltese Civil Liberties Minister Helena Dalli. She called for better treatment of LGBTI individuals, and Ullenhag notes her role in the social changes in Malta.

This year, Malta played host for the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) in Valleta.

Dalli admitted that Malta was “oceans apart” in terms of acknowledging the rights of LGBTI individuals. She was the first representative to the first IDAHO meeting in the Netherlands, which surprised other nations because of Malta’s presence.

Dalli said that Malta may not be the pioneer or the “top of its class” for LGBTI rights, but it believes in the individuals and open-mindedness against prejudice. Other countries highlighted Malta’s efforts to use a more liberal view of LGBTI rights and urged the Civil Liberties Minister to send a message to other conservative governments.

According to Dalli, Malta’s hard work and its recognition by other countries is satisfying. However, she said Malta is not championing the rights of LGBTI, but merely being fair and equal to every person regardless of their sexuality.