The right to form associations is a Constitutional right in the Maldives. Civil society play a vital role in strengthening public confidence in state institutions, social stability and improving tolerance within a free and democratic society.
Maldives is signatory to several international human rights treaty bodies, of which the article 20 of the UDHR prescribes that every person shall have the freedom to assembly and association. Freedom of expression is closely linked to the freedoms to assembly and association. The articles 19, 21 and 22 of the ICCPR oblige states to provide for these freedoms through the establishment of legal mechanisms and procedures.
This paper will look at the Constitutional provision in the Maldives to freedom of association, and the legal system that ensures the implementation of this right. As such, the gaps in the existing legislation will be explored and recommendations made in order to close these gaps and move forward in conforming to international obligations and standards for an open democratic system of governance.