Is the Tide Turning for Democracy and the Rule of Law in the Maldives?

The Maldives, a small island nation on the Indian Ocean, is best known for sun, sea and sand; a tourist’s paradise at risk of disappearance due to climate change and its effects. Yet, in recent years, the Maldives has come to be increasingly associated with images that are far from sunny. Is the tide turning for democracy and the rule of law in the Maldives?

Celebration of a promising democratic transition in 2008 was soon followed by an alleged coup d’état in 2012. Since elections that followed in 2013, opposition leaders and activists have been imprisoned and remain imprisoned despite international condemnation. In addition, President Yameen Abdul Gayoom has impeached two of his own Vice Presidents his first two years in office. Meanwhile, per capita, Maldives may be the top recruiting country for “jihad”. What is the crisis in Maldives? What are the challenges to democracy in the Maldives?

The speakers discussed the Maldives experience in democratic transition and the continuing challenges. The seminar addressed the continuing legal and political issues that are currently being debated in international discussions on the Maldives. The speakers aimed to share lessons learned to policy makers, academics and the public.


  • Mr. JJ Robinson
    Former journalist, Author of The Maldives: Islamic Republic, Tropical Autocracy published by Hurst. To be launched in London on 19 Nov.
  • Mr. Adrian Neville
    Photographer and Author,
  • Ms. Aishath Velezinee
    PhD Researcher at ISS, Erasmus University
  • Dr. Lyal Sungamoderator
    Head of the Rule of Law program, The Hague Institute for Global Justice

Further Reading

New Publications: Making Water Cooperation Work

The Hague Institute has released the two final reports for its project ‘Water Diplomacy: Making Water Cooperation Work’. The two publications present research findings…

News Brief

The End of U.S. Leadership on Human Rights?

For a column in Dutch newspaper NRC, journalist Michel Kerres, diplomatic editor for the newspaper, spoke to Stephen Rapp, former U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes…

Media Mention