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Shahinda Ismail

Shahinda Ismail

HRD, Executive Director
Maldives Democracy Network

Shahindha is the founder and currently the Executive Director of the Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN), the first and oldest running NGO in the country focused on human rights and democracy. She began her work following a mass arrest in August 2004, and advocated for the rights of detainees and their families until the organisation broadened its mandate in 2010 with the ratification of a rights friendly Constitution. Some of the work that Shahindha has had a leading role in include a nationwide ‘Go Vote’ campaign for the first multi-party presidential election in 2008, A successful campaign to disqualify unfair amendments to the Civil Service Act in 2008, nationwide awareness programs on detainee rights and the Chapter of Rights of the Constitution. Shahindha is also one of the few advocates against religious fundamentalism in the Maldives, making continuous efforts for deradicalisation.

Human rights defenders in the Maldives have been under attack in recent years as political turmoil has hit the island nation.  Right-wing religious groups have pushed a political agenda and have targeted human rights defenders.