The Maldivian Democratic Party Condemns the Maldives’ Government’s Banning of May Day Protests, Calls on the Government to Uphold Workers’ Rights

The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) condemns the Government’s decision to deprive workers of International Labour Day celebrations. International Labour Day is a day to celebrate all the women and men who contribute to the economy and development of the Maldives, but it is also a day for workers to demand the changes they want. Barring the peaceful walk organised by NGOs will obstruct workers from the opportunity to raise their voices and concerns on labour issues.

The MDP would like to remind the Government of Maldives that Maldives is party to the International Labour Organisation and its core Conventions. The MDP would like to specifically draw the Government’s attention to two freedoms that constitute the ILO’s global fundamental principles and rights at work:

– Freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining;
– Freedom from discrimination in employment and occupation.

All Maldivian workers including civil servants, workers at state owned companies, and the private sector, across all industries, must be allowed to demand for, and exercise these freedoms.

The Government’s banning of the May Day protest is another telling example of its crackdown on democratic ideals and principles. This repression of workers’ rights is part of a systematic crackdown on general freedoms and rights of all groups of society including political parties, civil servants, civil society and the media. The MDP is concerned that this repression of worker’s rights will lead to an inexorable decline of the advances made by Maldivian workers, including the rights granted in the Maldives Employment Act and the Constitution, and calls on the Government of Maldives to immediately end its continued infringement upon the political rights of civil workers and those employed at state owned companies.

The MDP also notes that today marks one year since the violent crackdown on the largest pro democracy rally ever held in the Maldives and the unlawful arrest of many political leaders and human rights activists. MDP calls on the Government to end the continued detention of 12 men and 1 woman who have been in custody for a year, today.