Maldives - Overview

Civic space is constrained in Maldives and people’s ability to organise, speak out and take action is being increasingly shut down through laws and other actions of the state. A decision by the country to leave the Commonwealth in 2016 because of criticism over its human rights record is a further source of concern for civil society. It is not easy for NGOs to register and operate and while the freedom of assembly is guaranteed in law, in practice civil society and opposition protestors face excessive force and arrests. Space for independent journalism has also contracted in recent years, with a spate of arrests and the disappearance of one prominent journalist.