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Guaranteeing Rights of Workers in the Maldives

May 1st, 2008 · 2 Comments · Civil Rights and Liberties, Human Rights, Labour Rights

The lack of a Labour Law and poor enforcement of existing labour regulations have made working environments unsuitable for workers in the Maldives who face problems of unfair dismissal, inadequate wages and long working hours.

The Bill on Employment passed by the Parliament on 23 April 2008 will provide some safeguards to workers in the Maldives including the guarantee of a minimum wage.

Migrant workers from neighbouring countries, most of them unskilled workers, are working for long hours for low wages. Some of them pay huge sums of money in advance for the recruiting agents back home, but on arrival in the Maldives, find that their job or work is not what was promised to them.

Expatriate worker from Chittagong district of Bangladesh works on a balcony of a building in Malé, Maldives.

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Expatriate worker from Chittagong district of Bangladesh working in building construction in Malé, Maldives

The Maldives has not yet acceded to International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.

Maldivian workers in tourism industry often complain about unequal treatment and accuse some resort managements of violating the labour recruitment guidelines and complain of unfair dismissals.

Workers’ unions are permitted in the Maldivian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in the constitution currently being amended by the Constituent Assembly. The Charter is based on International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

The Maldives acceded to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) on 19 September 2006.

The Attorney General’s Office has recently said that it has found several inconsistencies in the Maldivian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in the constitution under amendment. After the Constituent Assembly passes the constitution it will have to be ratified by the President before it comes into force. The announcement by the AG Office is an indication that the government will try to negotiate with the members of Constituent Assembly to bring amendments to the Charter.

Workers from Malé Port call for the Maldives to join ILO, during May Day march in 2006 in Malé, Maldives

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Workers from Malé Port call for the Maldives to join ILO, during May Day march in 2006 in Malé, Maldives

It is important that workers’ rights in the Maldives are guaranteed in the constitution when it comes into force. To ensure that workers have their rights, the Maldives has to introduce laws and regulations based on international standards and human rights conventions, accede to International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, join the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and permit workers to form unions.

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2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Mujuthaba // May 3, 2008 at 6:48 am

    A good initiative…migrant workers in our country are discriminated, harassed and deprived of basic human rights continuously. Its about time their rights are recognized and addressed.

  • 2 Alarming Reports on Human Trafficking in Maldives // Aug 17, 2010 at 7:15 am

    […] years, migrant workers in the Maldives have been facing the problems of unfair dismissal, inadequate wages and long working hours. The arrival of a new democratic […]

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