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Maldives migrants' death: Govt bodies haven't done enough for workers' safety, security

By Kirity Roy* 

We have been notified by the media that a hazardous fire, which erupted in a cramped neighborhood of Maldivian capital Male, has killed 10 migrant workers including 9 Indians. We are much aggrieved by this incident, and sending our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims. Many are missing.
Almost half the population in the Maldivian capital constitutes of migrant workers, and out of them many are Indians. During the COVID-19 pandemic it was reported by many media outlets that due to the cramped and unsuitable living conditions, the disease spread more rapidly among the foreign workers than anywhere else in the country. This brought the light upon the serious housing problem for the migrant workers in the country.
The current incident shows that the Government bodies have not done enough to ensure safety and security for the workers. While the United Nations have established the rights of the Migrant workers through the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Family, most of the governments don’t take that much seriously to ensure safety of the workers.
The Government of India has no concrete mechanism in place to monitor and act upon the conditions of Indian workers in other countries. This government apathy has been a cause of disenfranchisement for many Indian workers working abroad. While statute books are maintained for the inter-state migrant workers, there is no such mechanism in case of International migrant workers. Employment schemes such as Pradhan Mantri Rozgar Scheme, NULM are not available to many. Schemes like TRYSEM, IRDP are not in proper operation. This is forcing many Indian citizens choose hazardous working conditions abroad for livelihood.
Due to this kind of lack of initiative on the part of the Indian Government, the safety and security of many of our fellow citizens is being compromised. This is in direct violation of Article 21 of the Indian constitution. MASUM strongly condemns such inactions on the part of the Government which is putting the lives of many in jeopardy. We demand, the government must take immediate and fruitful actions in accordance with the law to ensure the safety, security and right to life of the Indian citizens working in the other countries, and to make sure incidents like this don't repeat in the future.
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*Secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM)

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