Human Rights Comission express concern over human rights violations in Reethi Rah

Monday, 1 December 2008 07:48

As reported on Miadhu Daily
Human Rights Commission of Maldives (HRCM) has called on the government to strengthen the work of the Labor Relations Authority and establish the Employment Tribunal called for in the Employment Act at the earliest. The call was made in a statement issued with regard to the ongoing strike by staff of the 5 Star Luxury resort one and only Reethi Rah Resort. HRCM in the statement expressed concern that unless the dispute is solved amicably, and all parties concerned follow the spirit of the employment act, the tourism industry of Maldives may be adversely affected.
The Commission expressed concern over the infringement of the right to strike by the management of Reethi Rah tourist resort, as stipulated by the constitution. The commission expressed that a team from the commission conducted an inspection visit on Sunday morning following a complaint from the employees of the resort regarding injuries sustained by some employers during a confrontation with the Maldives Police Services.

The Commission further called upon the concerned authorities and the managements of tourist resorts to award employees the rights stipulated in the constitution and to form the employment tribunal at the earliest possible.

The Human Rights Commission statement informed 13 staff from Reethi Rah resort was fired from their jobs while they were engaged in a peaceful strike and were asked to leave the resort premises. Consequently police were called in to forcefully remove the expelled staffs causing the confrontation. During the confrontation between the police and staffs on strike, several staffs were injured. HRCM informed that during the confrontation police used pepper spray and batons. The commission highlighted the situation got out of control when police intervened and lack of employment tribunal and ineffective Labor Relations Authority is an obstacle to the full enjoyments of rights guaranteed by the Employment Act.

A statement issued by Maldives Police Services noted that Police officers entered the resort following a request from the management of the resort to Home Minister Gasim Ibrahim.

The police team was sent to the Reethi Rah resort in an attempt to negotiate with those former employees and the others on site who were staging the protest.

According to Police, negotiation began peacefully, with both sides attempting to solve the problem, but events turned rougher as those protesting became violent.

Police repeatedly requested that the sacked staffs to leave the resort in a peaceful manner, but those protesting refused to let them leave.

Police Services informed that its officers tried use minimum force to separate the sacked employees from the crowd of protesters, but were met with stiff resistance.

In an effort to control the crowd, police officers arrested many people, but as soon as the situation was under control, those arrested were released, Police said.

Maldives Police said they were forced to handcuff some of the people in order to control the situation which caused some very minor injuries, but none of a serious nature.

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