On the Crime of Being a Human Rights Activist

Shahindha Ismail, Maldivian human rights activist and blogger.


  • Shahindha Ismail, Maldivian human rights activist and blogger
  • N.N., (moderation)

When the Maldives are mentioned, what comes to mind are images of palm trees and clear, turquoise water. But what seems like heaven on earth for the many tourists travelling there every year became a prison for Shahindha Ismail, founder and executive director of the Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN). The human rights activist and blogger has received countless serious death threats following a tweet that was considered anti-Islamic. The state has also taken action and initiated an investigation into her case. After several friends of hers were killed or kidnapped, she could barely leave her apartment without having to fear for her life.

Although the Republic of Maldives is a democracy, the state’s constitution also establishes Islam as the state religion and citizens are legally required to follow it. As such, critical statements like the one Shahindha Ismail made can have serious legal consequences. The degree of influence radical islamists still have on the Maldivian society and the growing fundamentalism is just one of the issues Shahindha Ismail tackles in her work. Together with the MDN, she also works to free political prisoners, protect human rights defenders and provides platforms for a civil dialogue. She is staying in Hamburg for a year as a scholarship recipient of the Hamburg foundation for politically persecuted people.

The lecture will be held in English.

in Cooperation with the Hamburg Foundation for Politically Persecuted People and the Amnesty International Chapter of Bucerius Law School

The event is open to the public, free entrance.