40 expatriate workers have been arrested after staging a protest over unpaid wages, on Monday.
Hundreds of workers contracted by Island Expert Private Limited protested in the capital’s suburban district Hulhumalé in the morning. While the protest escalated causing unrest, police said that protesters had confronted officers. Some officers are to have been injured in the confrontation.
Police further said that the protesters resorted to throwing rocks at responding officers, which also caused property damage.
While the situation was controlled not long after, 40 workers were taken into police custody. The remaining were pushed back into the Island Experts’ labour quarters.
The migrant workers staged some protests last week as well. The protests started from the Bodufinolhu unrest, where workers protesting over unpaid wages took 13 Maldivians as hostages. None of them were injured, and 19 of the migrant workers involved were arrested over the matter.
The Bodufinolhu incident has sparked outrage online, over migrant workers’ rights. It also led to police investigation into human trafficking and exploitation of migrant workers, against the company contracted to develop Bodufinolhu to a resort, RIX Maldives.
Local anti-corruption NGO, Transparency Maldives described the Bodufinolhu unrest as “a consequence of injustices suffered by migrant workers in the Maldives, every day” and called on the state to investigate the issues that led to the unrest and take legal action against those who violated migrant workers’ rights, instead of re-victimising them.
While there are nearly 200,000 migrant workers in the Maldives, over 60,000 are in the country illegally, according to Maldives Immigration.