Youth Ministry bans ‘Health Defense Maldives’ NGO for promoting anti-vaccination

Registrar of NGO's, Ahmed Irash | Photo: Tree Top Hospital

Malé, Maldives – The Ministry of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment of Maldives banned local NGO registered under the name ‘Health Defense Maldives’ for “working against a mandate of a government office of Maldives”.

According to a statement released by the Ministry on Wednesday, ‘Health Defense Maldives’ violated several guidelines of the Ministry set forth for newly registered NGOs and all general NGOs as well, including working against the mandate of a government office in the Maldives.

Other reasons highlighted in the statement for the termination of the NGO’s registration included that the NGO was acting in a manner in which it was causing panic within the society relating to the mandate of Ministry of Health in protecting the general public health. The statement also stated that the actions of the NGO was promoting against vaccination in Maldives and by doing so, the NGO went against the NGO Act of the Maldives, Constitution of the Maldives and also international treaties which ensure the right to healthy life.

The penalization of the NGO came after they released a 400 page document named “Bodily sovereignty – a luta continua” which promotes anti-vaccination. The document was prepared by Shifan Ahmed from ‘Health Defense Maldives’ and reviewed by Dana Thynes who is a vaccine researcher.

Based on these, Ministry of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment of Maldives had banned the ‘Health Defense Maldives’ NGO under Article 19 (f) and (g) and Article 32 of Associations Act (1/2003).