MARUAH expresses concern about cancellation of approvals for Speakers’ Corner event

23 October 2014

MARUAH is deeply concerned about the cancellation of approvals granted for the “Return our CPF” protest scheduled at Speakers’ Corner on 25th October 2014.

When Speakers’ Corner was first established in 2000, it was specifically designated as the one protected area in Singapore where speakers could speak freely (with the usual restrictions on race, religion and national security) without having to apply for a permit under the Public Entertainments Act (and its successor the Public Entertainments and Meetings Act). The reforms of 2008 further promoted free speech and civil society development in Singapore and were welcomed by all.

While the events of 27th September remain under investigation, we feel that it is highly inappropriate to cancel the approvals given for the 25th October “Return our CPF” event. Why should an ongoing police investigation about a past event be a reason for prospectively depriving an applicant of the right to hold future events? This move undermines the presumption of innocence which underpins the rule of law, and will have a chilling effect on free speech and democratic development in Singapore.

Any potential disturbances to other park users can surely be dealt with using appropriate scheduling of events. We therefore call on the Police and NParks to reconsider their decision and allow the event to proceed as scheduled.


Defending the Legitimacy of Singapore Elections, Part 3: electoral boundaries and CDCs

10 October 2014

MARUAH held a press conference on 9 Oct to highlight 2 research papers, as part of its ongoing project, Defending the Legitimacy of Singapore Elections. This is the third in a series of media and public engagements that MARUAH has arranged, with the first two focusing on citizens’ confidence in the secrecy of the ballot and what it considers are areas for reform in the GRC system.

The first paper deals with the issue of electoral boundaries, mapping out the frequency of the changes made to electoral boundaries and the impact these changes have on the electorate. The second paper deals with the roles Mayors and the Community Development Councils (CDC) play in elections.

MARUAH EBRC Position Paper
MARUAH EBRC Annex 1 pdf
Maruah EBRC – Annex 2 pdf
MARUAH Electoral Boundary Delimitation Powerpoint Presentation

MARUAH Mayors Position Paper
MARUAH CDC Mayors PowerpointPresentation


Letter on Speakers Corner

30 September 2014

This letter was sent to the ST Forum page by MARUAH but was not published.

28th September 2014
To:
The Forum Page Editor
The Straits Times

Dear Sir,
MARUAH, a human rights organisation, refers to the story “Chaos at Hong Lim Charity Carnival” ( ST, 28th September, 2014). We are writing to ask two questions that are puzzling us on processes and the rights of our citizens. Read the rest of this entry »


Position Paper to the Inter-agency Taskforce on Trafficking-in-Persons

22 September 2014

In June 2014, MARUAH submitted a position paper to the Inter-Agency Taskforce on Trafficking-in-Persons. We at MARUAH are pleased that the task of combating trafficking-in-persons in Singapore has gained momentum. A top-down mechanism in the form of an effectively enforced Anti-Trafficking Bill is a crucial step that cannot be foregone. We are also very happy that the Task-Force has held consultation with MP Christopher De Souza who is going to move a Bill in Parliament later this year. We would like to share our views, concerns and suggestions for the drafting of the Bill.

MARUAH’s Position Paper for Consideration to the Inter-agency Taskforce on Trafficking-in-Persons


International Day of Democracy 2014

15 September 2014

15 Sep is International Day of Democracy, as observed by the United Nations.

On this International Day of Democracy, it is prudent to take stock of the state of democracy in Singapore.

Since the last election, which was seen to be a watershed, there has been a proliferation of views from a wide range of people and groups. This is a heartening sign for the health of our democracy.

Many of these views are aired online. Needless to say, the internet is going to play a big part in shaping the issues to be contested in the next election.

Facebook, online news sites and blogs are all exceptional tools that have democratised information and people’s right to share their views.

MARUAH, a human rights organisation, is very encouraged by this level of democratisation, which has raised awareness on important social issues and highlighted the work done by many non-governmental organisations and concerned citizens.  Read the rest of this entry »


MARUAH condemns the actions of ISIS

13 September 2014

This letter was sent to ST Forum on 5 Sep 2014, but was not published.

The Forum Page Editor
The Straits Times

Dear Sir

MARUAH, a human rights organization, refers to the article Obama Vows to Degrade and Destroy ISIS Militants (ST September 4, 2014) and is deeply worried about ISIS’s escalating use of fear tactics to promote its extremist agenda. The brutal beheadings of journalists Mr Steven Sotloff and Mr James Foley are acts that shock the conscience of mankind. Our deepest condolences to the families of the journalists and the people of America.

ISIS has sought to market that shock and cheapen our conscience by filming and sharing the beheadings. These videos were intended to be seen and, of course, reported. The journalist compatriots of Steven Sotloff and James Foley, no doubt, have a duty to report the facts of the beheadings, despite the ethical implications of their reports on violence and turmoil.

After James Foley’s death, the New York Post ran a picture of his beheading and a sensationalist headline as its front page story. New York Post was roundly condemned not just by concerned citizens but by other newspapers as well.

Such sensationalist spectacles not only create an audience for ISIS but also belittle the memory of journalists who are unjustly murdered. If we are to be humane and respect the memory of the dead, we have to extend the right to privacy and freedom from attacks upon one’s honour – ensconced in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – to them as well.

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, in line with Resolution 29 “Condemnation of Violence Against Journalists” spoke out against ISIS’s murder of Steven Sotloff. Similarly, United States Secretary of State, John Kerry, has sought to hold ISIS accountable “no matter how long it takes.”

We, as citizens from all over the world, can do our part in curbing the influence of ISIS by refusing to view and share the exploitative videos. When we view and share these videos, whether intentionally or not, we validate the terror tactics of ISIS.

Let us not feed a theatre of cruelty.

MARUAH would like to state categorically that ISIS as an organization deserves our condemnation and these acts of theirs to resolve deep-seated issues of beliefs and faiths are cheap, sensational, exploitative, cruel, barbaric and cowardly. There is no heroism here.

Mr Simon Vincent,
Member, Youth Group
MARUAH


Opening Statement by new United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

8 September 2014

The new United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, has made his opening statement at the 27th Session of the Human Rights Council.

“The mandate of my Office encompasses all human rights, for all people. Its priorities span discrimination; the rule of law and ending impunity; poverty; violence; continuing efforts to improve international human rights mechanisms; and widening the democratic space. In recent months, OHCHR’s concerns have been numerous. They have included severe acts of discrimination in many regions; widespread violations of economic and social rights due to failures of governance and other concerns; apparent violations of human rights in the context of counter-terrorism; sexual violence; attacks motivated by stereotypes and hatred of many kinds; over-incarceration; the death penalty, and many other issues”

See link below for the full statement.

http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=14998&LangID=E


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