Four Palestinian refugees who arrived in the Maldives on 9 July 2013 have left the Maldives after being granted asylum by Sweden.
In a statement the Maldives Foreign Ministry said it had made a decision not to repatriate the family following an appeal from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR), which facilitated the family’s application for refugee status.
The family initially fled Palestine to Syria, but were compelled to leave due to escalating conflict in the country.
“The [Maldivian] government took care of the welfare of the family, including providing them accommodation at Hulhulé Island,” stated the Foreign Ministry.
The family initially arrived in the Maldives on a flight from Dubai with a “questionable” travel document supplied by Syrian authorities.
The foreign ministry at the time noted that under local laws, individuals travelling to the Maldives with false documentation were to be refused entry to the country.
However, the ministry said it had been informed by the UNHCR on July 14 that the family were believed to be registered as refugees. The family has also told government authorities that they are listed with the United Nations Relief and Works Agencies for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).
“Upon receiving request from UNHCR, the ministry intervened and requested the Department of Immigration and Emigration to allow the family to remain in the Maldives, as returning the family from the same route as they came in would leave to high probability of the family being returned to war-torn Syria,” read the previous foreign ministry statement.
“[Returning the family to Syria] is not acceptable to the government of the Maldives.”