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Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

d. Freedom of Movement, Internally Displaced Persons, Protection of Refugees, and Stateless Persons

The law provides for freedom of internal movement, foreign travel, emigration, and repatriation, and the government generally respected these rights.

Exile: The new Penal Code abolishes the use of banishment to a remote island as a punishment. Such sentences were common in the past. The implementation of such punishment was difficult, however, because host communities increasingly refused to accept anyone sentenced for a crime. According to MCS statistics, there were nine individuals serving banishment sentences for periods shorter than life.

Emigration and Repatriation: Maldives Immigration reported its Expatriate Monitoring and Repatriation Section had an active voluntary repatriation system, and between January and August, 2,403 foreigners, mostly from Bangladesh, voluntarily repatriated to their home countries. In an August tweet, Maldives Immigration stated a further 2,597 foreign resident workers had been repatriated for irregularities with their documentation, including 230 who were deported. Foreign workers may initiate voluntary repatriation proceedings, but Maldives Immigration interviews employers to recover withheld passports, request payment of return airfare for the foreign worker if applicable, and identify whether the foreign worker had abandoned his or her duties without proper notice.

Citizenship: The law requires all citizens to be Sunni Muslims.


Access to Asylum: The law does not provide for the granting of asylum or refugee status, and the government has not established a system for providing protection to refugees

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U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future