International Organisation for Migration admits Maldives in bid to improve worker welfare

The Maldives was yesterday admitted to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in a significant step towards improving the welfare and lifestyle of migrant workers.

The Maldives joined the IOM with thirteen other states during the 2011 IOM Council in Geneva this week, raising total membership to 146 nations from all global regions.

This year’s session also marks IOM’s 60th anniversary. The organisation currently runs 2,900 projects in over 400 field locations. It’s 2010 expenditure exceeded US$1.4 billion.

IOM was established in 1951 as an inter-governmental organisation which supports orderly management, international cooperation, practical solutions and humanitarian assistance among countries addressing migrant issues, particularly those dealing with refugees and internally displaced people.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated in a press release that “IOM experts have already begun work with the Maldives Government to help with the better management of migration in the country – especially in the context of the large numbers of migrant workers in the Maldives.”

Minivan News recently reported a steep rise in human trafficking, which was earlier calculated to be the second largest contributor of foreign currency to the Maldives at US$123 million.

In 2010, the United States’ State Department listed the Maldives second on its Tier 2 Watchlist for Human Trafficking, following a report that Bangladeshi workers were being exploited in high numbers by fake companies promising work permits.

This year 308 cases have been reported to police involving expatriates leaving their sponsors, and more than 4000 passports belonging to illegal migrants have been found.

Thirty-five police officers were subsequently trained trained to combat human trafficking, and took part in the workshop ‘Integrated Approach to Combating Trafficking in Persons’, organised by the IOM.

Maldives Ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Iruthisham Adam, said IOM membership was an honor for the Maldives.

“The Maldives is in the particular situation of being a Small Island Developing State, until very recently a member of the UN’s Least Developed Country category, which nevertheless is a major destination country for economic migrants.”

Economic migrants primarily from South Asia account for approximately one quarter of the country’s population, she noted.

“The Maldives greatly values the contribution they have made and continue to make to our economy and society,” said Adam. “However, the situation also raises a range of challenges, especially relating to our human, technical and financial capacity to manage such population movements.”

Adam said IOM membership would provide valuable support and expertise to the Maldives as it strives to manage internal and external migration “in a way which fully benefits the migrants themselves and the wider Maldivian society.”

Welcoming the Maldives’ membership, IOM Director General Ambassador William Lacy Swing praised the government for raising awareness of the effects of climate change on Small Island Developing States.

Other new members are Ethiopia, South Sudan, the Holy See, Antigua and Barbuda, Chad, Comoros, Djibouti, Guyana, Micronesia, Mozambique, Nauru, the Seychelles and Vanuatu.


4 thoughts on “International Organisation for Migration admits Maldives in bid to improve worker welfare”

  1. Why is Yaameen acting like the only economist in town. This guy can manipulate these figures in front of idiots (many of our Majlis members). When he was in power, there was no accountability. The budget was a foregone conclusion. Yes we have to get more figures in the open, but to deny the benefits for the MNDF and Police is wrong. They have done so much work and will continue to do so. Yaameen is the biggest enemy of law enforcement in the country.

  2. Remember he asked Maumoon to make him Defense minister if DRP/PA won the last election?

  3. better late than never.... the Banglas are constantly abused & (if only they could speak English) could relate some 'horror stories'............. dont forget rorts perpetrated by LALE school on thier employees either - or have they paid-off the right people to side-step investigation???? .............jj

  4. let us not consider this as a one way street. Workers are abused and ill treated while the damage to our society from the migrant workers are also staggeringly high. We also need to give awareness to the migrant workers on hygiene and manners and especially caring for the environment and respect for everyone.


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