True facts you don’t know about REPUBLIC OF MALDIVES



1-    1- A small country of almost 2000 islands spread across the Indian Ocean, the Maldives has been undergoing democratic transition only since 2008. It has faced challenges in consolidating democratic institutions and culture, including the respective roles of the judiciary, executive, parliament, independent institutions and civil society.


2-     2- The Maldives remains prone to human rights impact from climate change and natural disasters. Over the years, it has engaged positively with the international human rights system with a number of treaties ratified and a standing invitation to Special Procedures. In recent years, Maldives acceded to several key international human rights instruments.


3-    3- The Government of Maldives estimates suggest nearly a third of the Maldives’ populations of 300,000 are migrant workers, of which up to 50,000 have irregular status. These are mainly migrants from Bangladesh and India entering the construction and service sectors who, whether documented or undocumented, are left vulnerable to fraudulent recruitment, confiscation of identity and travel documents, non-payment of wages and debt bondage. The Maldives is known to be a destination country for human trafficking, including sex trafficking and especially forced labour. The trafficking of Maldivian children within the country is also an issue.


4-    4- Maldives is one of the 50 Bali Process countries and has in late 2013, passed a bill on anti-human trafficking, which makes trafficking in persons a criminal offence with perpetrators liable to 10 to 15 years imprisonment. The bill, which entered the Maldivian parliament – the People’s Majlis – in April 2013, also criminalizes offenses such as forced labor and fraudulent recruitment as acts of human trafficking. The first piece of legislation that criminalizes human trafficking is a huge stepping stone to addressing numerous migration challenges in the Maldives. Maldives has in recent years made significant efforts to highlight at the international level the potential risks of climate change, especially to low lying islands such as theirs. They have also made important efforts at the domestic level to provide assistance and facilitate durable solutions for the estimated 12,000 persons internally displaced as a result of the 2004 tsunami, and have put in place national development, disaster risk reduction plans, and climate change adaptation strategies which address the socio-economic dimensions of these issues as well as the need for physical protection.


5-   5-   Potential internal displacement in the future 12. As a small island nation, Maldives has a long history of resilience in the face of its delicate geographic and environmental profile. However, pressures in the form of climate change factors now increase the threat of rising sea levels and sea temperatures, as well as more frequent and severe weather events. A total of 90 inhabited islands have been flooded at least once in the course of the last six years, and 37 islands have been flooded regularly, at least once a year.12 Given that over 40 per cent of the population and housing structures in Maldives are within 100 metres of the coastline,13 flooding and other natural disaster risks threaten to damage infrastructures and the provision of essential services potentially affecting 12 food security, livelihoods, health and the overall well-being of vulnerable groups14 such as children, the elderly and the poor, in particular.


6-    6- Population density, salination, and coastal erosion compound the social and economic vulnerabilities of the Maldives population—which is already affected by the scarce existence of natural resources, including land, and the lack of freshwater sources—rendering eventual internal displacement inevitable for the inhabitants of many small islands. This threat of internal displacement in Maldives is in the context of other key concerns, which include the vast geographic expanse over which the small islands are located, the difficulties in reaching and servicing these, the lack of sufficient land, and the overcrowding in many of the more urbanized or well-serviced islands, which precludes most IDPs from resettling there.


7-     7- Given the specific environmental and physical characteristics of Maldives, the country is considered vulnerable to multiple natural disaster risks, both sudden and slow-onset, which threaten the infrastructure, biodiversity and environmental sustainability of many islands, to the extent of potentially rendering them unfit for human habitation, or requiring significant measures to rehabilitate or decongest them in the future. Moreover, projections of a rise in sea levels of 88 cm between 1990 and 2100, according to the worst-case scenario, would imply that many islands of Maldives could be either submerged or uninhabitable,15 but also that many islands are likely to face a severe risk of inundation much before that, as the sea rises. Some experts believe that disaster risk reduction can perhaps delay this prospect by decades.16 However, all of the above factors point to a situation in which potentially important levels of internal displacement can be anticipated, as well as a possible need in the future to find alternatives outside the physical territory of Maldives.

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