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COVID-19: 12 individuals evicted over failure to pay rent, says HRCM

Ahmed Aiham
08 May 2020, MVT 21:56
Empty streets of Male' amid lockdown. PHOTO: NISHAN ALI / MIHAARU
Ahmed Aiham
08 May 2020, MVT 21:56

Human Rights Commission of Maldives (HRCM) on Thursday revealed that 12 individuals were forcibly evicted for failure to pay rent, amidst the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.

According to findings from HRCM’s 'Human Rights Analysis Report and Recommendation Summary' released on Thursday, a total of 25 individuals were threatened with eviction by their landlords, out of which eight were provided temporary shelter by the government.

The report did not clarify the number of households affected by these evictions.

Five individuals under temporary housing reported shortages of food as a result of unpaid Ramadan allowances. Three others were stranded, unable to travel to their home island due to the countrywide travel ban.

The study also found that, of the 1091 individuals that participated in the survey, 44 percent were tenants. Of these tenants, 30 percent reported difficulties in their ability to continue paying rent, while 17 percent reported that they were unable to afford rent.

Findings from the study also revealed that 12 percent of tenants had their rent reduced by landlords. In contrast, 42 percent reported no changes.

Moreover, 53 percent of survey participants reported employment violations. Of these 46 percent were employed in the private sector, 25 percent as freelancers and 21 percent working in the public sector.

Previously, Male' City Council urged individuals without a home and those facing forced evictions in the capital to inform Ministry of Gender, Family and Social Services via its hotline '1412', in an effort to assist those financially impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as well as those displaced as a result of the travel restrictions.

Maldives presently records 734 confirmed, 711 active cases of COVID-19 and a total of 20 recoveries.

The country recorded its first virus death, of an 83-year-old local female, on April 29. The second death involved the passing of a 33-year-old male Bangladeshi national, following a tonic-clonic seizure, while a third COVID-19 fatality involved an 80-year-old local man who had passed away on late Thursday.

In addition to the capital, COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Uligan in Haa Alif Atoll, Narudhoo and Milandhoo in Shaviyani Atoll, and Thulusdhoo in Kaafu Atoll.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified the spread of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. The new strain of novel coronavirus has infected over 3.94 million people and claimed over 271,426 lives around the world. However, out of those infected, 1.36 million people have recovered.

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