40 Somali castaways sent back home after four years

Police have said that 40 Somali castaways that were found in the Maldivian EEZ on different occasions since December 2009 have been sent back to their country.

The police said that all these people were accommodated in Dhoonidhoo Police Custodial remand centre under police charge during their time in the Maldives.

Police said that the Somalis were successfully sent back after cooperation between the government and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

A joint operation was conducted with police Serious and Organized Crime Department, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Aviation Security to send them back, police said.

According to police, the Somalis were sent in a chartered flight and were accompanied with security officers.

The police said that the 40 Somalis included seven castaways rescued on December 2009, another five castaways rescued in the same month.

In 2010, authorities rescued seven Somali nationals on May 26, six were rescued on June 5, two on July 2, seven on November 28. Three more were rescued on 30 November 2010 and another three castaways rescued on December 2011.

In March 2012, a then-senior government official told Minivan News that the castaways under the custody of Maldivian authorities had refused to return home despite arrangements that were made for their safe repatriation.

According to the government official, who spoke to Minivan News on condition of total anonymity, the government had devoted “immeasurable amount of time and effort” over the past three years to safely repatriate several Somali nationals who have been discovered in Maldivian waters in dinghies lost at sea.

A delegation from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) delegation arrived in the Maldives in 2012 to confirm the Somali’s preferences as no refugee can be repatriated without consent under the international conventions.

The Maldives cannot resort to the option of forced repatriation as Somalia is recognised as an unsafe state.

Maldives has not ratified the 1951 Refugee Convention or its 1967 Protocol citing “financial and technical capacity constraints” but the convention prohibits all states, regardless of whether they have acceded it, from returning a “refugee to a territory where his or her life or freedom is threatened”.


5 thoughts on “40 Somali castaways sent back home after four years”

  1. In a banana state where its own citizens cannot freely exercise their rights and freedoms, what chance of finding a safe place did these poor refugees have? Utter disgrace! So much for humanity and compassion in a so called "Muslim" country.

  2. Perhaps we might be able to attain more skilled labor at a good bargain by accepting refugees. The current stock of foreign labor force consisting mostly of bangladeshis are unskilled and difficult to learn certain skill sets. But then again we are a very xenophobic society that already have trouble accepting new things.

  3. we do not need refugees .

    Nasheed was the man who could not even repatriate these pirates .

  4. Hey Hero, let us hear what you will say when we become climate refugees. You or your descendants may as well be repatriated to 'paradise sinking'. No one chooses to be a refugee. Certainly not a refugee in a country like ours.

  5. I'd like to have earned citizenship in a country, and work in the immigration department. And when I see mr.Hero, I'll go out of my way to make sure his request for asylum is denied.

    Just so he gets to taste his own, foul medicine.


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