Increased international interest on Singapore UPR in 2016

4 February 2016

UPR 2016 & 2011
The International Commission of Jurists has compiled a list of countries that participated in Singapore’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process. The comparison between the 1st cycle in 2011, and the 2nd cycle in 2016, shows an increased in the number of countries taking an interest in the human rights situation in Singapore.


MARUAH’s forum letter on Singapore’s participation in UPR process

4 February 2016

MARUAH’s forum letter on Singapore’s participation in the second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process, has been published online.

http://www.straitstimes.com/forum/letters-on-the-web/more-meaningful-engagement-needed-on-human-rights

On Jan 27, Singapore participated in the second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process. Ambassador-at-Large Chan Heng Chee led a delegation that comprised civil service officers (“UN praises Singapore’s social policies”; Jan 29).

Absent from the table were ministers and elected government leaders, who ought to take the lead to speak for human rights, explain the Government’s stance and address the issues raised.

Maruah hopes that our government leaders take the UPR process seriously enough to spare time for a discussion on human rights issues.

Singapore’s human rights record should be presented by a minister or deputy minister.

Issues raised during the UPR session included recognising migrant workers and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, questioning, intersex, asexual (LGBTQIA) community as people with equal rights, abolishing the death penalty, reviewing the Internal Security Act and certain laws such as Section 377A, removing corporal punishment, and ratifying several international conventions.

Race and security also featured in some observations and questions, with countries asking for clear ratification on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

There were also calls made for a National Human Rights Institution and an independent elections commission to be set up.

These are issues that civil society, Singaporeans and the Government will continue to negotiate on.

However, Maruah finds the approach and stance taken by the Government to certain issues disappointing.

The use of exceptionalism to defend the existence of anachronisms like the death penalty and arbitrary detention without trial shows the Government’s lack of commitment to the core principles of human rights.

Human rights are indivisible, inalienable and interdependent.

Yes, we live in difficult times, where security of the person and a country are real.

All the more we need to have meaningful engagement on these issues between our population and the Government.

Braema Mathi (Ms)
President
Maruah


Interview with SIX-SIX.com

30 January 2016

Ms Braema Mathi, President of MARUAH, was interviewed recently by SIX-SIX.com, on issues relating to human rights.

http://www.six-six.com/article/braema-mathi-to-stick-to-the-words-human-rights-is-advocacy-in-itself

A video summary can also be found below.


‘Live’ stream – Universal Periodic Review of Singapore’s human rights record

22 January 2016

Singapore UPR Invite

Join us for a ‘live’ streaming from Geneva on Wednesday, 27 January 2016.

Streaming will start from 9.30pm. Doors open at 9.00pm.

Information on this UPR session can be found at the link below.
http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/SGSession24.aspx

Venue:
The Agora
Block 28 Sin Ming Lane
#03-142 Midview City
Singapore 573972 [map]

Directions:
Take bus 410W or 52 from Bishan Bus Interchange and alight in front of Ai Tong Primary School. Midview City is just behind Ai Tong Primary School.

Please register your attendance, by sending an email to maruahsg@gmail.com with the following details
Name:
Organisation (if any):
Contact (email or mobile):


Jakarta terrorist attack – Letter of support to Indonesia Government

17 January 2016

MARUAH, a human rights group in Singapore, condemns the senseless and cowardly terrorist attacks in Jakarta on 14 January 2016 that resulted in the needless loss of lives.

We offer our deepest condolences to the victims and their families and the people of Indonesia and support the efforts made by the Indonesian government to bring the perpetrators to justice.

MARUAH also supports the Singapore government in its offer of help to Indonesia and the calls made by our Ministers to remain vigilant against these threats in our own country. It is our hope that all people in Singapore will also remain resolute in the face of such challenges and will support peace and humanitarian efforts should the need arise.

Braema Mathi
President
MARUAH Singapore


MARUAH statement at UPR pre-session on Singapore

16 December 2015

Speech by MARUAH for MARUAH and Collective of Singapore NGOs (COSINGO)

DECLARATION MADE BY MARUAH Singapore
UNIVERSAL PERIODIC REVIEW (UPR) PRE-SESSION ON SINGAPORE, GENEVA
16th DECEMBER 2015

Presentation of the Organisation
1. This statement is delivered by MARUAH Singapore, on behalf of Civil Society Organisations and individuals who have participated and followed the UPR process. “MARUAH” is a human rights NGO with special consultative status on the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

National consultations for the drafting of the national report (if any)
2. There were 2 government-organised consultations held in Singapore.

3. MARUAH held 3 open consultations with various Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), individuals and university students.

Acknowledgment of work done by the Singapore Government
4. Since the 2011 UPR, the Government has ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2013, acceded to the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (UN TIP Protocol), often known as the Palermo Protocol in 2015, made legislative changes to the mandatory death penalty, thus introducing discretionary approaches and signed onto the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

5. The Government has organised more consultations without CSOs asking for it. Seemingly the government is becoming more open in discussing matters with civil society though the number of people being hauled up under various laws, continues as a deterrent to shut the voices down.

Plan of this Statement
6. The statement addresses the following issues:-
a. Freedom of expression, Freedom of information, Freedom of peaceful assembly and association
b. Impediments to free and fair electoral systems, specifically the GRC system, redrawing of electoral boundaries
c. Lack of Independent Institutions for elections and setting up a National Human Rights Body
d. Ratification of other core international human rights instruments, specifically CERD, and optional protocols for CEDAW, CRC, CRPD
e. Continued usage of preventive detention without trial, under ISA & CLTPA
f. Lack of human rights education in schools

7. This statement will not go into all details but we have introduced footnotes to highlight the notes and evidence. (https://maruahsg.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/maruahupr2015-final.pdf); (https://maruahsg.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/combinedupr-final.pdf)

8. The aim of asking for interventions through questions and recommendations is for people in Singapore to be able to move away from this fear-ridden climate that we are embedded in.

Read the rest of this entry »


Human Rights Day 2015 – MARUAH statement

10 December 2015

The UN Human Rights Office is launching on Human Rights Day “Our Rights. Our Freedoms. Always.” a year-long campaign to shine a light on the inalienable and inherent rights of global citizens — now, and always.

“Our Rights. Our Freedoms. Always.” revolves around the timeless themes of rights and freedom and the relevance of the work that continues in securing and ensuring them. At its core, FREEDOM, underpins the International Bill of Human Rights – freedom from fear, freedom of speech, freedom of worship and freedom from want.

In-line with the theme chosen, MARUAH is issuing the following statement for Human Rights Day 2015, 10th December.

Fifty years ago, the United Nations General Assembly adopted two international treaties that would forever shape international human rights: The International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

Fifty years ago, Singapore also gained full independence. Till date, the Singapore government has not ratified the 2 original core international human rights instruments, the ICCPR and ICESCR.

Singapore still has much to do to build political institutions, judicial systems, and economies that allow ordinary people to live with dignity. The growth of hate speech against religious and racial minorities, the justification of rights violations in the name of combating terrorism, the clawing back of economic and social rights in the name of economic crises or security, and the failure to respect the right to privacy in the digital age, show the relevance of the 2 Covenants and the need to respect them.

On this Human Rights Day, we call on our Singapore government to ratify both the the ICCPR and ICESCR, as a commitment to the citizens of Singapore.

MARUAH Singapore

References
http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/HRDay2015/Pages/HRD2015.aspx


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