The Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure has decided to involve the Human rights Commission of Maldives (HRCM) in its ongoing feud with Male’ City Council (MCC).
The ministry has forwarded a case to police as well as the HRCM in relation to its civil servants who have been assigned to work at the Dharubaaruge conference center.
President of the HRCM Mariyam Azra confirmed that a complaint had been received today regarding the right to work of these civil servants. She said that the HRCM will work with the CSC to resolve the issue.
In one of a series of jurisdictional disputes in the capital, the Civil Service Commission (CSC) informed the MCC in April that its Dharubaaruge staff had been transferred to the Housing Ministry following a cabinet decision to transfer the conference centre to the central government.
Upon receiving the letter, the MCC sent all members of staff home and locked the doors to the conference centre.
This prompted a swift response from Housing Minister Dr Mohamed Muiz who declared that the centre had been closed unlawfully. Police were sent in and the centre forcefully reopened.
Dr Muiz told Sun Online that Housing Ministry staff had been arriving for work at the conference centre since mid-April and being forced to stand outside as the MCC refuses to accept the legality of the transfer of ownership.
The minister argued that this situation contravened the workers human rights.
“Eighteen civil service employees of Dharubaaruge have to stay out in the sun every day after reporting to work. They can’t enter Dharubaaruge to work. So whether it’s City Council or another institution, they are denying these employees their rights,” Muiz told Sun.
MCC Councillor Mohamed Abdul Kareem denied that this was the case and said that the MCC had made interim arrangements with the CSC.
“No, they are not waiting outside, they are working at the Housing Ministry. We have arranged a temporary permit with the CSC to use our civil servants in the Dharubaaruge until the legal dispute is resolved,” said Kareem.
Mohamed Fahmy Hassan, Chairman of the CSC said that there was no prospect of Housing Ministry staff gaining access to the building until the MCC had agreed to the transfer and a full inventory of the facilities and equipment had been conducted.
“We have instructed the Ministry of Housing to make arrangements for staff to sign up and go home until the situation with the MCC is dealt with,” said Fahmy, though he was unsure whether these instruction had been carried out.
The legal battle between the MCC and the government continued to smoulder this week as the police, responding to a request from the Home Ministry, requested an order from the Criminal Court to dismantle the Maldivian Democratic Party’s (MDP) Usfasgandu protest area.
This area was one of 32 plots of land given over to the MCC as part of the 2010 decentralisation act and was reclaimed by the Housing Ministry on May 9 after its warnings for political activities in the area to cease went unheeded.
After some deliberation, as well as pleas from the MCC, the Criminal Court decided that this Usfasgandu did not fall under its remit, leaving the police to consider its next move.
The Ministry has Housing and Environment was this week renamed the Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure following the creation of the Ministry of Environment and Energy.