South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR), a regional network of human rights defenders, expresses concern over the loss of life of migrant workers in a fire on 10 November 2022. It is reported that one Bangladeshi and 9 Indian migrant workers perished in the fire that destroyed their cramped lodgings in Male, Maldives.
Migrant labour has been crucial for the development of the Maldives. SAHR learns that one third of the Maldivian population is made of migrant workers, mostly from South Asian nations. National, regional and international human rights groups have continued to express concern over the numerous discriminations towards migrant workers in the Maldives such as negligence of undocumented migrant workers, irregular payment contracts, hazardous working environment and unhygienic living conditions. SAHR has also advocated for better governance practices, fair treatment of undocumented migrant workers and better working and living conditions of the migrant workers in Maldives.
SAHR condoles with the families of the migrant workers perished in the fire and urges the Government of the Maldives to provide redress and compensation so that they could rebuild their lives. SAHR also calls on the Government to institute better migrant labour governance policies and regulations based on the international convention on the protection of the rights of migrant workers and their families as well as the relevant International Labour Organisation (ILO) standards.
On behalf of the members of South Asians for Human Rights
Dr. Roshmi Goswami
Dr. P. Saravanamuttu,