Palestinian refugee family to remain in Maldives while authorities assist with resettlement

Four Palestinian refugees who arrived in the Maldives on July 9 will remain on the airport island of Hulhule’ until authorities can resettle the group in another country, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced.

The Palestinian nationals, who Minivan News understands had previously fled to Syria, arrived in the country earlier this month on a flight from Dubai with a “questionable” travel document supplied by Syrian authorities.

The arrival of the refugees to the Maldives has been described by former Maldives Foreign Minister Dr Ahmed Shaheed as a relatively unprecedented development for the nation, which has never previously entertained asylum seekers or refugees – mainly due to a lack of individuals seeking such a status.

“There does not appear to be an official mechanism to deal with such claims either,” Dr Shaheed explained today.

“However, those who have drifted into the Maldives by sea have been repatriated to their home countries, and it is only those whose nationality has not been identified who have remained in limbo in Maldives, sometimes under detention, as the case with some alleged Somali pirates.”

In a statement issued today, the foreign ministry said 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 United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on July 14 that the Palestinian 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).

The Foreign Ministry said it understood the Palestinian nationals had been living until recently in Syria, before seeking to leave the country due escalation of conflict between government and rebel forces.

“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 foreign ministry statement.

“[Returning the family to Syria] is not acceptable to the government of the Maldives.”

Citing involvement with the case “purely on a humanitarian basis”, senior officials in the government have since met with the family, who have said they had no intention of staying in the Maldives indefinitely.

According to the Foreign Ministry, the Palestinian nationals have sought relocation to Europe, where other members of their family are already believed to have settled.

“Deputy Chief of Mission of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Mr Hans Friedrich Schodder and Mr Abid Mohudin, Interviewing Officer, arrived in the Maldives on July 23 2013, and have met with the family,” the ministry stated.

“UNHCR officials have already gathered information from the family on refugee status determination and has assisted in the resettlement submission.”

Government authorities are now working with the UNHCR to try and help the family resettle in Europe in collaboration with the Palestinian Embassy in Colombo also assisting.

According to the Foreign Ministry, the embassy had already provided assurances that all necessary travel documents would be provided to the family once the UNHCR has resolved the process of their resettlement.

Meanwhile, the family continue to be held at an unspecified location on the airport island, with authorities pledging to provide food, medical assistance and other necessary facilities, the Foreign Ministry has said.

Immigration Controller Dr Mohamed Ali was on leave when contacted for a comment today, forwarding request for further information to department Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Abdullah Munaaz.

Munaaz was not responding to calls at time of press.

International rules

Former Former Minister Dr Shaheed, who has served in the role under the governments of both former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and Mohamed Nasheed, said international rules on refugees were governed by the 1951 Refugees Convention and the 1967 Protocol to the Refugee Convention.

He added that the Maldives was not a party to such treaties. However, Dr Shaheed said that certain requirements in dealing with refugees were included in customary international law, requiring all nations to abide by them.

“The most important such customary international law principle is that of non-refoulement, whereby an asylum seeker should not be sent back to a country where he or she would face threats to his/her life or freedom,” he said.


18 thoughts on “Palestinian refugee family to remain in Maldives while authorities assist with resettlement”

  1. Welcome to Super Syria. May this be a transit point to this innocent family's journey to the Free world.

  2. Applaud whoever is responsible for allowing the family to remain on Maldivian soil, some shed of humanity in our people.. finally

  3. I believe strongly, that this palestinian refugee family will be taken care of to the best possible in any aspect - all supporters of palestine will sure pamper them to the utmost possible and Adalaath will take care of the overall situation ...

  4. From the frying pan into the fire, even will all the unrest countries like Syria is more livable specially for them than here in these island.

    Refuge with extremely bad healthcare, limited education prospects and no employment opportunities.

  5. In a statement issued today, the foreign ministry said that under local laws, individuals travelling to the Maldives with false documentation were to be refused entry to the country.


  6. @ Logal Sumaari kaleyge

    instead of whining, why don't u leave ur island and go to Homs for good? u r sure that Al-Qaeda will give u a better job, better food, shelter, state of the art medical facilities and quality education! lmao 😛

  7. Hope that this family finds somewhere safe in the world to settle down. Clearly, they chose Maldives as a transit point and I'm sure they have no intention of staying in this hell hole even a minute longer than needed.

    The Maldistanis have nothing to fear. Gasim, with a bottle of natural gas tied to his backside (for obvious reasons), the most refined liquor in his left hand and the mighty sword of Jihad in his right hand will lead Maldistan to, erm... well, God knows where...

  8. The family of Palestinians at the airport have exposed the hypocrisy of Maldivians who claim to be 100% Muslims, who observe fast during Ramadan, but do not have the charity in their hearts to welcome this poor family, even during this holy month. Islam stresses treating wayfarers well. It stresses treating refugees well. Ramadan in particular is about helping the less fortunate. But all these Islamists in the Maldives seem to know is to bash Israel in the name of Palestinians. This episode has shown that all those tears shed by Maldivians over Palestine were nothing but crocodile tears! Where is our humanity? Where is our sense of charity towards the destitute? Or are these values to be found only on "kafir" lands? So what does it really mean when Maldives claims to support Palestine?

  9. Shaheed, muslims who in general rant about Israel and Palestine don't give a rats ass about the Palestinian people. They only do it to get more votes or recruit more soldiers for their imaginary jihad.

  10. @Ahmed Shaheed on Fri, 26th Jul 2013 9:13 AM

    "This episode has shown that all those tears shed by Maldivians over Palestine were nothing but crocodile tears!"

    Well, I'm old enough to remember the "Qudhs Fund" that Pharaoh Abdel Gay Yoom setup. Thousands of poor Maldivians like myself donated money to this. Where did that end up? Perhaps he bought a gold toilet seat or two for the money.

  11. @Ann

    With that comment i see you general lack of competency. Even that comment would have been funny if you said go to Ur/Urim.

  12. This family should be helped to settle a civilised secular country.
    Given the choice, would you want to settle in a bankrupt, politically unstable country where there is no freedom of worship, where women are still flogged in public and where the immigration system is a complete bloody mess? C'Mon.
    Oh, I forget to mention the short, fat and dim people, half of whom are drug addicts.....scary scary.
    If my comments are seen by the Palestinians my advice is GET OUT WHILE YOU CAN.

  13. Hey, wait a minute, how come some of the commentors here sympathize with this Palestinian family just to blame the Maldives for it's inability to grant asylum. You know what will happen if refugees were granted some type of stay here. This would be the big heading on Minivan news.

    Maldives; the next terrorist hub for extremist refugees from Palestine, Syria blah blah

    You are really one big bunch of liars and hypocrites.

    @ Miss India,
    Really, and your cow worshiping developed country does true justice to Aids Orphans by making them live in graveyards?? Maldives is a poor country but at least it does not stick to your pathetic levels.

    Orphaned by AIDS, 5 kids live in graveyard

    and lets not talk about the pesticide poisoning of 23 children just last week. Yeah, India is better than the Maldives!????????????

  14. Ahmed Shaheed,

    Yeah, so Maldivians are inhumane, but Europeans, Americans and the Israelis are humane!!

    It's a fact that the UN comprising of the aforementioned developed countries decision to create Israel out of no where is the main cause for the conflict in the Middle East.Jews and Arabs(in poor conditions) were living in harmony before the creation of Israel, weren't they?

    And do not talk about impunity??That drives ones mind to insanity??! yeah, we have crocodile tears and all rich countries and Israel are ever loving, sympathetic, pure???

    Israel’s culture of impunity

    Israel is a big lie and Hypocrite, they even deceived America??

    Cover-Up Allege in Probe of USS Liberty

    Wake up, Idiots??!!

  15. Has anyone checked the religion of the Palestinians? They could be christians or shias. If they are anything but sunni muslims.....god's chosen people and epicentre of the whole friggin universe.....they should get the hell out of Maldives.

  16. I'm a father of six people total family and I need humanitarian noble immigration your escape "from hell of war taking place in my country where I live in SYRIA And i am from Palestinian nationality which we have a way to help me and my family to find a safe place you enter stability to my family and my children can complete their education in peace

  17. Well, I am a Palestinian refugee in Syria and I am coming to the Maldives. somebody sponsor me or I'll end up on that same Island.


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