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 letter on situation in Thailand

15 June 2014

MARUAH recently wrote a letter to the Thai ambassador in Singapore, and also the Thai representative to the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission On Human Rights, regarding the current situation in Thailand.


6th June 2014

HE. Marut Jitpatima
Royal Thai Embassy Singapore

HE. Dr Seree Nonthasoot
Representative of Thailand to the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission On Human Rights (AICHR)

Respect For Human Rights And Democratic Values Is Paramount 

MARUAH, a human rights organisation in Singapore, expresses grave concerns over the manner in which human rights are being gradually but systematically eroded since the military takeover and also over the suspension of the Thai Constitution. The imposition of martial law allows the military sweeping powers to restrict human rights and fundamental freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution.  Read the rest of this entry »

Press Statement – Termination Of Services Of Mr Roy Ngerng

12 June 2014

MARUAH is concerned over the process and the reasons offered for terminating the services of Mr Roy Ngerng, a patient coordinator at the Communicable Diseases Centre at the Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH).

In TTSH’s Press Statement two reasons were cited for the termination. The first being that Mr Ngerng had used the hospital’s time and resources for personal interests and did not take heed of the warning letter given to him in May this year. The second reason was one of “conduct (that was) incompatible with the values and standards expected of employees”. While acknowledging that TTSH staff were free to pursue personal interests outside work, it was expected that “they must conduct themselves properly, honourably and with integrity” and “cannot defame someone else without basis, which essentially means knowingly stating a falsehood to the public.”

The Ministry of Health (MOH) also issued a Press Statement to support TTSH’s decision and to say that Mr Ngerng’s “actions show a lack of integrity and are incompatible with the values and standards of behaviour expected of hospital employees”. Read the rest of this entry »

World Day Against Child Labour

12 June 2014

World Day Against Child Labour was started by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in 2002 to draw attention to the need for political will to combat the scourge of child labour.

According to the ILO there are currently over 168 million child labourers all over the world. That is, globally an average of one in ten children is being exploited. They work in industries as diverse as agriculture, mining, manufacturing, construction, fishing, retail, transportation, food and beverage and even hospitality. The majority of child labourers are involved in hazardous work or work that poses a risk to their health and safety.

In Singapore we are fortunate enough to be in environment where children are not exposed to such exploitation. But as consumers we need to be cognizant that eliminating child labour must become a priority for each and every one of us. The Asia and Pacific region alone has the largest number of child labourers at 78 million or 9.3% of the total child population. Read the rest of this entry »

MARUAH calls for rebuttal of blogger Roy Ngerng’s statements on Singapore PM, not legal action

21 May 2014

For immediate use

21 May 2014

MARUAH is dismayed over the Prime Minister’s first step action of issuing a letter of demand to ‘Heart Truths’ blogger Mr Roy Ngerng, asking for an apology, a retraction of the blog post and compensation for damages and legal costs to the Prime Minister.

We are concerned that these actions on the part of the Prime Minister will further shrink the space for public discourse in Singapore. Robust debates, diverse views, critical inquiries, in addition to a healthy media landscape, are all critical to the development of a functional democracy. A healthy and engaged society calls for diverse, independent voices who will need the space to express their views and face sharp rebuttals if their views are found wanting or even false. These are the first steps to robust critical discourse: being transparent and open. Read the rest of this entry »

International Day Against Homophobia And Transphobia

17 May 2014

Human Rights Are For Everyone = No Matter Who You Are Or Whom You Love
Today marks International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, a worldwide celebration of sexual and gender diversity.

However, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and inter-sex people face discrimination at almost every stage, and in every facet of life, just for being who they are. Bullying in school, discrimination at work, stigmatisation and violence, are all very much realities for those in the LGBTQ community.

The law has been slow to grant protection to individuals on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and not enough amongst us, in society, are standing up to put an end to this discrimination. As a human rights organisation, MARUAH affirms the importance of recognising that human rights are universal and the need for anti-discrimination laws to safeguard the rights of at-risk communities.

Singapore remains at odds in its relationship with the LGBTQ community. Section 377A of the Penal Code which criminalises consensual gay sex continues to be in the books, yet every year the turnout at Pink Dot – the annual celebration of inclusivity, equality and freedom to love – gets bigger and bigger.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon raised a very important question in his statement in support of International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. He asked:-
“Do we want to live in a world where love is targeted or where it is celebrated; where people live in fear or in dignity?”

At MARUAH we say “Dignity for All” because dignity ensures the fulfillment of human rights for each and every one of us, regardless of race, language, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity.

As we spend today reflecting on the need for dignity and equality for all, let us also consider how our actions as individuals can improve the situation.

Join us in speaking out against homophobia and transphobia, take the next minute or so to watch and share this video on how we as individuals can empower our communities and effect change.

Video Link:

World Press Freedom Day – 3 May

3 May 2014

The 2014 theme for World Press Freedom Day is “Media Freedom for a Better Future”.

The focus this year is on three inter-related themes
– the media’s importance in development
– the safety of journalists and the rule of law
– sustainability and integrity of journalism Read the rest of this entry »


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