The Maldivian Red Crescent (MRC) has successfully concluded the third iteration of its Migrants Day Festival 2023, a significant event in the global observance of International Migrants Day. The festival, organised by the MRC’s Malé City Unit, was held in Hulhumalé to facilitate migrants’ access to health and legal services within the Maldives.

The festival served as a conduit for migrants to acquaint themselves with the services offered by local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that support migrants in the Maldives. It also allowed migrants to seek primary health screening services free of charge, according to the MRC.

MRC Secretary-General Fathimath Himya, speaking at the event, underscored the significant contributions of migrant workers in the Maldives. “Their presence enriches our society, and today we acknowledge their significant role in shaping our community,” she said.

The festival was a collaborative effort involving the Public Interest Law Centre and several other stakeholders. It featured stalls from 18 entities, including state institutions, companies, and civil society organisations. Volunteers from the MRC Malé City Unit provided translation assistance during the event to facilitate communication between service providers and migrants.

“This programme has been instrumental in providing essential health services to our migrant communities, ensuring their well-being, and fostering a sense of inclusivity within our society,” Himya added.

International Migrants Day is dedicated to acknowledging the significant contributions of migrants to both their host and home countries while raising awareness about the challenges they often face. These challenges can include exploitation, abuse, and limited access to essential services. Despite these hardships, migrants are a source of prosperity, innovation, and sustainable development, often providing financial support to their families and local markets through remittances.

Himya also had a message for all Maldivians, calling on everyone to “reflect on the importance of embracing diversity and advocating for the rights of every individual, regardless of their background. By championing inclusion, we build stronger, more resilient communities that thrive on the principles of equality and understanding.”

The day also serves as a platform to promote the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration (GCM), which aims to manage migration in a humane and orderly manner for the benefit of all.

“On International Migrants Day, we highlight the urgent need for safe migration governance rooted in solidarity, partnership, and respect for human rights,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on the occasion.

The theme for International Migrants Day 2023, as established by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), underscores the potential of migration as a critical solution to pressing global issues. These issues range from adapting to the impacts of climate change to creating enhanced economic opportunities for communities. The theme serves as a reminder that each individual can effect change and that our collective actions today can pave the way for a better tomorrow.