New Child protection law prescribes mandatory vaccination

The People’s Majlis today passed a new Child Protection law that obliges the vaccination of children.

The Bill was submitted by MP Rozeyna Adam – MP for Addu Meedhoo Constituency and was passed by vote of 66 votes in favour of 68 present MPs while 7 did not vote.

Under to the passed Bill, parents are barred from not vaccinating their children. The Bill has been passed by the Majlis at a time when there is a growing concern of an increasing number of Maldivians opting not to vaccinate their children. After the President signs the bill into law, however, parents will not have the option of non-vaccination.

The Bill defines a ‘child’ as anyone that is below the age of 18 years old and also a human in any stage of prenatal development from fertilization to birth. Thus, the Bill, not only protects the rights of children below the age of 18 years, but also protects human fetuses.

The Child Protection Bill was first accepted to the floor of Majlis on 27 August 2019.

Protecting the rights of children is one of the top priorities of the current regime. One of the prime reasons why the President Office proposed the new Child Protection Bill was because the existing law was inadequate to provide for and protect the rights of children.

Apart from the obligation on parents to vaccinate children, the Bill includes provisions to protect children from discrimination, physical and emotional abuse, detrimental social and cultural trends, child labour and right to education, social protection, rest and enjoyment.

Further, after the Bill becomes approved by the President, allowing the marriage of a child below the age of 18 years will become unlawful.