Human Rights Watch calls to lift MDN suspension

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called to reverse the decision to "temporarily" shut down Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN).

Youth Ministry made the decision to suspend the NGO on Thursday amid serious threats against the organization for its report on rising radicalization in the Maldives, which challenged principles and teachings of Islam in the Holy Quran, and disrespected Prophet Mohamed (PBUH). The report outlined several verses from the Quran and 'hadith' of Prophet Mohamed (PBUH) as examples of ideas included in school text books that contribute to promulgation of radical worldviews.

A statement released by the Ministry on Thursday stated that the ministry suspended the organization under the powers vested in the registrar of organizations, as the matter is currently under police investigation.

Following the suspension, the international organization called on the government of President Ibraham Solih to immediately reverse its decision and said the authorities should investigate Islamist groups responsible for inciting violence against rights groups in the Maldives.

President Solih fulfilled his campaign promise to abolish laws curtailing free expression, only to resort to the same tricks against the Maldives Democracy Network. By shutting down the MDN, President Solih is feeding a frenzy of threats and incitement by Islamist groups.
- Patricia Gossman, Asia associate director at Human Rights Watch.