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Cablegate: Delivery of Maldives Gsp Demarche; Ilo Request

VZCZCXRO3928
PP RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHLH
DE RUEHLM #0043 0211147
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 211147Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1136
INFO RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA PRIORITY 2274
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD PRIORITY 9296
RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU PRIORITY 7551
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 3711
RUEHCG/AMCONSUL CHENNAI PRIORITY 9859
RUEHKP/AMCONSUL KARACHI PRIORITY 2646
RUEHCI/AMCONSUL KOLKATA PRIORITY 0506
RUEHLH/AMCONSUL LAHORE PRIORITY 0132
RUEHBI/AMCONSUL MUMBAI PRIORITY 7146
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS COLOMBO 000043

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT PASS TO USTR FOR MICHAEL DELANEY

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON ELAB ETRD MV
SUBJECT: DELIVERY OF MALDIVES GSP DEMARCHE; ILO REQUEST
FUNDS

REF: SECSTATE 1911


1. (U) Per reftel, post delivered the demarche on GSP
and labor rights to the highest levels of the Government of
the Maldives (GOM). On December 29, Ambassador Butenis wrote
Foreign Minister Shaheed on USG plans to review the Maldives
labor rights in one year, emphasizing the need for the
Maldives to make further improvements. The GOM should work
to ensure that the legal framework of the Maldives affords
all internationally recognized worker rights, including
through the International Labor Organization (ILO) work plan
and implementation ofthe new employment law. Ambassador
Butenis also copied the Minister of Economic Development and
the Minister of Human Resources, Youth and Sports (who cover
labor issues). Post followed up with a visit by Charge
Fowler and the economic chief on January 13. The Charge
repeated the reftel points to Vice President Waheed, the
Foreign Minister, the Minister of Economic Development, and
senior officials in the Ministries of Human Resources, Youth
and Sports, Economic Development and Finance. The Charge
also met with the Maldives National Chamber of Commerce and
Industry and stressed that the Maldives must make further
improvements in labor rights to continue to receive GSP
benefits.

2. (SBU) The GOM has taken the demarche seriously, and
they have already reached out to the ILO to implement the
agreed work plan. Tine Staermose, regional director of the
ILO office, has spoken to the Vice President of the Maldives,
and they agreed to meet on January 18 to discuss
implementation of the work plan. Officials of the Ministry
of Human Resources, Youth and Sports assured the Charge that
there would be solid results in 2010 in areas such as
collective bargaining and labor tribunals.

3. (SBU) ILO Director Staermose emphasized how the GOM
sincerely desires to improve their labor rights situation,
and that the ILO could make substantial improvements in the
Maldives, given its small size, for a small budget.
Staermose said that with a grant of $350,000 to $500,000 USD
the ILO could accomplish in one year what normally takes
three years. The timing is right to seize this critical
opportunity, with the Maldives an emerging democracy with a
new government very interested in improving labor rights.
BUTENIS

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