South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR), a regional network of human rights defenders, urge the government of Maldives to conduct a swift and impartial investigation on the function of the Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN) and ensure the safety of the members and employees from extremist elements.

On 10 October 2019, the Maldives Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), announced that a temporary cessation, subject to a police investigation, has been imposed on MDN activities following widespread public condemnation of a report published by the organisation in 2016 entitled “Preliminary Assessment of Radicalisation in the Maldives”, due to content slandering Islam and the Prophet Mohamed. However, MDN on 9 October 2019, had issued a press release apologising for the ‘unfortunate use of language’ in some sections of the 2016 report and retracted it for further review.

SAHR has observed that MDN has been facing threats and attacks for being vocal against the violence instigated by extremist groups breaching peace and public discord in the Maldives. In this context, we strongly urge the Maldivian government and relevant authorities to ensure the personal security of the MDN staff, board members and their families and prevent them from facing any form of intimidation or harassment. SAHR also calls upon the government to conduct an impartial and independent investigation on the function of the organization.

We also call upon the government to combat the spread of violence by extremist groups and create conditions for democracy to prevail in the country by promoting the expansion of civil society space.

On behalf of the members of South Asians for Human Rights,

Sultana Kamal

Mohamed Latheef