The Human Rights Commission of Maldives (HRCM) on Thursday, declared concerns over ‘inhumane’ living conditions imposed on foreign workers working in the country.
The meeting was held to inaugurate the distribution of information card in three different languages, to educate foreign workers on their constitutional rights.
Addressing the event, Vice President of HRCM Mohamed Zahid acknowledged that labourers residing in Maldives faced terrible mistreatment and that these workers often faced ’inhumane’ conditions in their Male-based living quarters.
“I implore these employers to not treat their foreign workers this way. Recognise that they too, are human”, said Zahir.
Zahir also highlighted that much work remains to be done to protect the rights of foreign workers, as the commission had limited resources, the implementation of such programs faced many difficulties.
Expressing his sadness over these incidences, he mentioned the now-viral photograph depicting of a drone travelling jam-packed with a number of foreign labourers with no room to sit, referring to the image as a mere example of abuse faced.
The information cards prepared by HRCM outlines worker's rights in Malayalam, Bengali and Nepalese language, and contains information on passport protocols, specifically mentioning that employers cannot hold such documents hostage from workers and that they are entitled to recieve a copy of their contract.
In addition, the cards also note that foreign workers are entitled to off days and a week's vacation, as well as hotline numbers, to call in case of a human rights infraction.
HRCM's Director of Advocacy Aishath Shifana addressed the gathering. highlighting irregular payment of salary and dismissal without notice in violation of contract, as being the key issues faced by foreign workers in the country. She also spoke of the vast differences in the treatment of Maldivian workers and foreign workers.
HRCM stated that local government authorities, embassies, international airports had confirmed their assistance in distributing the information cards and spreading awareness.
The institution also plans to distribute the cards during their travels to different islands and atolls of Maldives.