The legal team of RIX Maldives has revealed that the expatriate workers in Bodufinolhu island, which is being developed as a resort, have been transferred to a safe location, as the Maldives Police Service (MPS) and the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) Investigate the issue of electricity and water supply being cut from the island.
In a press release, the company’s legal team revealed that the island’s developer, Seal Maldives had earlier informed police that electricity and water supply would be cut from the island.
The statement reads that once RIX company came to know that the authority was informed, they had submitted the case as MPS and HRCM.
Expressing dire concern in regards to how things went down afterward, RIX condemned the lack of action by authorities who were informed of the matter beforehand, especially since police had been providing security for the island, where expatriate workers previously created unrest as well.
RIX has since called on both MPS and HRCM to conduct a complete investigation into the case.
The contractor of the resort development project, RIX has been providing food and accommodation for the expatriate workers in the island in a way that does not hinder human integrity and rights.
The statement goes on to read that both MPS and HRCM were aware that RIX had been carrying out food and accommodation arrangement for the workers, accordingly.
Further, it reads that charges have been requested against Seal Maldives in the case of unpaid wages for expatriate workers in the project and that the company is working to provide a solution for the issue, as the case is being looked into legally as well.
RIX Maldives’ legal team accused Seal Maldives of carrying out inhumane acts against the expatriate workers, including halting their food supply and turning them back upon attempting to enter Thulhaadhoo island for their food supply.
When the case of food supply was lodged at the police, police had responded that food may not be supplied to the island without the authorization from Seal Maldives. Following the response from police, the case has been lodged at HRCM now, reads the statement.
Following discussions, they were able to resolve the issue late Thursday.
Since Thursday, expatriate workers in Bodufinolhu island had no access to electricity and water supply, which was reportedly resolved on Friday.
Following this, the Associate Asia director for Human Rights Watch Patricia Gossman stressed that the situation for migrant workers in the Maldives is desperate, noting that the same workers in Bodufinolhu island who had gone unpaid are now saying that they have no electricity or water.
She went on to question why the authorities are “oblivious”.
Due to the long-drawn-out issue of unpaid wages, expatriate workers in the development project had been protesting peacefully for months before things escalated and they took a group of 13 Maldivians workers on the island hostage, having damaged property after securing the island.
19 workers were arrested following the unrest and their remand has been extended since.
On July 24, the Labor Relations Authority ordered RIX Maldives to pay pending salaries for 179 expatriate workers stationed at Bodufinolhu.
In a letter addressed to owner of RIX Maldives the Labor Relations Authority noted that the expatriate workers besides those working for RIX and Bodufinolhu Hotel and Resort Private Limited are undocumented workers living illegally in the Maldives. LRA cited all of the expatriate workers in the Bodufinolhu island having stated that they are employed by RIX Maldives and that transactions and documents between Seal Maldives and RIX Maldives indicate that RIX company had been paying the workers on the island.
Under the agreement made with Seal Maldives and RIX, the latter is responsible for paying the workers their due salaries as well as food and accommodation, alongside ensuring the settlement of fees to the government in relation to the workers.