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


TODAY Voices – letter on HPB sexuality FAQs

13 February 2014

TODAY has published MARUAH’s forum letter on the Health Promotion Board (HPB) sexuality FAQs.

“MARUAH, as a human rights group, is disturbed that the Health Promotion Board (HPB) amended its FAQ on sexuality because of pressure from faith-based groups and others who oppose discussions on sexual orientation.”

Read the full letter below.
http://www.todayonline.com/voices/faq-educational-tool-should-remain-its-original-form


MARUAH reply to Ministry of Law on repatriations

23 December 2013

MARUAH first wrote to TODAY Voices regarding repatriations relating to Little India riot:
http://www.todayonline.com/voices/due-process-should-not-be-subordinated-expediency

The Ministry of Law replied
(“Singapore’s legal system is firm, just and fair” Ms Praveen Randhawa, Press Secretary to the Ministry for Law, TODAY, Dec 21, 2013):
http://www.todayonline.com/voices/singapores-legal-system-firm-just-and-fair?singlepage=true

Our response to the Ministry of Law is set out below:
The Government’s position, as articulated by Ms Randhawa, is essentially that foreigners are allowed into and to remain in Singapore at the Government’s pleasure, and that they have no right to challenge the Government’s decision on whether they can stay or should leave. We believe that many Singaporeans would respectfully disagree as we do believe that everyone – Singaporean or foreigner – should be given due process to justice and fairness.

Due process fundamentally refers to a requirement that the state respects all the legal rights of a person, in particular when seeking to sanction or penalise that person. The Government argues that foreigners being subject to repatriation are not entitled to due process. This may be the technical position under Singapore law today. But is it the right position for a society that upholds the rule of law? Read the rest of this entry »


Letter to TODAY Voices – Repatriations relating to Little India riot

20 December 2013

MARUAH’s letter to TODAY Voices has been published.

Due process should not be subordinated to expediency
We refer to Law and Foreign Affairs Minister K Shanmugam’s statements defending the Government’s powers, under the Immigration Act, to repatriate foreigners outside of the judicial process on the basis of the time and expense of prosecution.

He added that these are issues for society to decide. (“28 charged as police complete riot probe”; Dec 18)

MARUAH is troubled by the implications, as there are principles we believe our society should uphold.

Read more at the link below.
http://www.todayonline.com/voices/due-process-should-not-be-subordinated-expediency


Letter to ST Forum – Registration requirements can have a chilling effect on free expression

17 December 2013

This letter was sent to ST Forum on 12 December 2013, but was not published.

To:
The Editor
Forum Page
The Straits Times

Dear Sir

MARUAH is deeply concerned at the closure of Breakfast Network’s website as a result of their decision not to submit the registration forms required by the Media Development Authority (MDA). Read the rest of this entry »


MARUAH forum letter on disability

3 December 2013

3 December 2013 is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. MARUAH submitted a letter to the Straits Times Forum, which was published yesterday.

http://www.straitstimes.com/premium/forum-letters/story/break-barriers-the-disabled-20131202

Break barriers for the disabled
IN CONJUNCTION with the International Day of Persons with Disabilities tomorrow, we wish to draw attention to barriers in our bid to become an inclusive society.

We acknowledge the Government’s efforts in taking on a fairly active approach towards breaking barriers through the Ministry of Social and Family Development’s Enabling Masterplan.

We also note the efforts of the Building and Construction Authority, which has updated the Code on Accessibility for the Built Environment.

However, the Government needs to do more by making physical accessibility a priority in urban planning. Read the rest of this entry »


MARUAH Media Statement – On diminishing space for public discourse in Singapore

29 November 2013

MEDIA STATEMENT 

For immediate use  

29 November 2013

Dear Editor

We write to express our dismay at the attempt to prosecute Mr Alex Au for contempt of court and the reports about the Media Development Authority (MDA) seeking to regulate online media platforms the Breakfast Network and The Independent Singapore.

The members of MARUAH, as Singapore citizens and human rights activists, are concerned that these actions will further shrink the space for public discourse in Singapore. Robust debate, diverse views, questioning and criticism, as well as a healthy media landscape, are all critical to the development of a functional democracy. Read the rest of this entry »


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