The government is in talks to move the Maldivian refugees displaced in Syrian camps to another country, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has revealed.
Speaking to press on Thursday, the President revealed that the government is working to bring back Maldivians who “wish to return” from Syria.
In this regard, Solih revealed that they are in discussions with international organizations to carry out a procedure through which said Maldivians may be brought back and will proceed with an action plan once delegations from foreign countries arrive, on the last week on September.
In addition, the government is currently working to build a temporary center to place the Maldivians once they are returned to the country, but before that, they will be removed from the Syrian camps and moved elsewhere, said Solih.
“As you know, they have been involved in terrorist organizations. Releasing them into the society the minute they return to Maldives will not be the best thing to do”
~ President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih
The government is receiving cooperation from foreign countries in conducting the required rehabilitation programs for them, said Solih.
On 12 September, a rehabilitation program for Maldivians involved in terrorist groups was included in the amendment to the Anti-Terrorism Act which states that those who leave the country to join wars may not be released back to the Maldives society unless a thorough assessment is carried out to evaluate if they’re worthy of reintegration.
As such, those individuals are to be locked up in a center specialized for such matters, while a risk assessment is to be carried out.
Earlier, National Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC) revealed that around 54 Maldivians including women and children are currently living in Syrian camps and that bringing them back will be “challenging” due to the lack of written documentation.
Debates regarding bringing them back had flared on surface media on previous occasions as well, with several citizens opposing the call to bring them back as they pose a threat to the watchful younger generations and the entire nation.
While many Maldivians have in the past become casualties of the Syrian war, many are involved in terrorist groups and thus are deemed a national threat as there is a possibility of crisis in Maldives.