AG’s Office sends a new bill on NGOs to President’s Office

Attorney General, Ibrahim Riffath. (File Photo/Sun/Fayaz Moosa)

Attorney General’s Office has finished drafting a bill on non-governmental organizations, and has sent the draft to the President’s Office for approval.

The bill is designed to govern the registration and management of NGOs in Maldives. It will render the currently used Act number 1/2003 (Organizations Act) void once its enacted.

It stipulates that all NGOs in Maldives must be registered under the legislature.

NGOs registered under a different law will also fall under the new legislature once its enacted. However, if a different law establishes regulations for management of a specific type of organization, the organization which fall under the specific type of organization must follow the specific law, and not the new legislature, aside from in matters linked with registration.

The new legislature also establishes regulations for international organizations which wish to operate within Maldives.

It also makes establishment of the conditions for, and responsibilities of the registrar of organizations, and the establishment of an advisory committee to counsel the registrar of organizations mandatory.

The registrar is empowered to take action to stop or instruct organizations to follow the rule of law where any evidence of wrongdoings by an organization is found.

The new legislature also establishes regulations governing events held by organizations, transactions to raise funds for the organization, mergers, and management of debt and financial records.

The drafting on a new legislature on NGO’s comes amid the controversy surrounding Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN) and its publication regarding a preliminary assessment of radicalization in Maldives – which was found to contain blasphemous content which most the Islamic faith, the Holy Quran, and the Prophet.

Many have called for the government to revoke the license issued to MDN to operate as an NGO.

MDN is currently under suspension pending the outcome of a criminal investigation into its publication.