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.

Advocacy awards for 10 groups, individuals

4 September 2014

Ten individuals and organisations who made major contributions to the growth of civil society in Singapore in the last three years were honoured at the inaugural Singapore Advocacy Awards.

They are, in alphabetical order:
ACRES (animal welfare organisation)
All Things Bukit Brown (heritage preservation movement)
Braema Mathi (human rights advocate)
Chan Li Shan (mental health advocate)
Damien Chng (second chances advocate)
Eugene Tay (environmental sustainability advocate)
Jeremy Boo and Lee Xian Jie (social issue filmmakers)
Louis Ng (animal welfare advocate)
M Ravi (human rights lawyer)
Pink Dot (freedom to love movement)

Braema Mathi and Louis Ng both won the “Advocate of the Year” award. Read the rest of this entry »

UN Sec-Gen report on Responsibility to Protect

24 August 2014

The United Nations secretary-general has issued a report that outlines the ways in which national, regional and international actors can assist States in fulfilling their responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.

The report can be downloaded at the link below.

Council of the European Union adopts guidelines on Freedom of Expression online & offline

21 May 2014

The Council of the European Union has adopted the EU Guidelines on Freedom of Expression online and offline, thus bringing a new addition to the family of EU Human Rights Guidelines. With these guidelines, the EU reaffirms the pivotal role that freedom of opinion and expression play in a democratic society.

More details in the links below.
Press release [PDF]
EU Human Rights Guidelines on Freedom of Expression Online and Offline [PDF]

CSCLeaders programme

21 March 2014

Ms Braema Mathiaparanam (Mathi), President of MARUAH, a human rights organisation in Singapore, has been selected for the prestigious CSCLeaders programme taking place in the UK from 23-30 March 2014.

CSCLeaders is a leadership programme which assembles exceptional senior leaders from across the Commonwealth to tackle challenges that businesses, governments and society face today and build the global relationships needed by the leaders of tomorrow.

Braema will join over 100 other global leaders from public, private and NGO sectors across the Commonwealth to find innovative and practical solutions to this year’s challenge: “How do you get societal – as well as economic – value out of technological innovation?” She will also be presented to HRH The Princess Royal at a reception for CSCLeaders at Buckingham Palace. Read the rest of this entry »

Little India COI – press reports on MARUAH’s testimony

14 March 2014

Please see below for press coverage of MARUAH’s testimony to the Little India Committee of Inquiry (COI). Our written submission to the COI can be found here.


Rights group urges value system of open approach towards foreign workers

S’pore needs ‘values system’ on how foreign workers are treated here: MARUAH

Start with schools to develop open approach to foreign workers: MARUAH

MARUAH accorded special consultative status on United Nations Economic and Social Council

14 February 2014

MARUAH is pleased to announce that it has been granted special consultative status on the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

This status will allow MARUAH to voice human rights issues in Singapore and in ASEAN, through this international and well-regarded avenue. MARUAH is the first human rights organisation from Singapore
to be granted this distinct honour. We are also pleased, as part of the UN process, that the government had given its support to ECOSOC for MARUAH to be granted this status.

Speaking of the ECOSOC status, Ms Braema Mathi, President of MARUAH says: “We are indeed honoured that we have been granted this special status. There is much that we can learn from others and much that we can also highlight through this avenue to make Singapore more rights-focused.

MARUAH has been working tirelessly over the last seven years to bring to the attention of Singaporeans and our government to the many instances where our human rights practices can be improved and where rights-based approaches can be adopted.

As much as the ECOSOC status is an honour, it is also a challenge to us to continue our work towards achieving gender equality; realising the rights of the child; ensuring fair and equitable workplace practices; promoting the need for impartial electoral practices and asserting every citizens’ right to education, healthcare and civil liberties.

MARUAH also stands ready to work with other Singaporean organisations in achieving our collective vision of a Singapore where all of us understand not just our responsibilities as citizens but our undeniable rights as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is our hope that Singaporeans will support our work.”

Straits Times report on MARUAH forum on Little India

13 February 2014

The Straits Times has published a report on MARUAH’s event on Little India.

“A PROPOSED public order law for Little India that will be debated in Parliament next week was criticised by some civil society activists last night at a forum.”

Full text of the report below.

World Report 2013 by Human Rights Watch – “Singapore: Running in Place on Human Rights”

1 February 2013

Human Rights Watch has released it’s 23rd annual World Report, providing a summary of human rights conditions in more than 90 countries and territories worldwide in 2012.

“In Singapore, the slight relaxation of mandatory death penalty laws and curbs on an opposition party leader did little to relieve the severe restrictions the government imposes on civil society, Human Rights Watch said.”

Singapore: Running in Place on Human Rights
Government Makes Little Progress Implementing Rights Reforms

Betraying human rights, ASEAN style

15 May 2012

An opinion article that appeared in The Nation, a Thai newspaper, by Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

Since it was established, AICHR has refused to release a single document related to the drafting of the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration – including its terms of reference, the names of the drafters, and actual drafts of the declaration. Nor has AICHR met as a regional body with civil society representatives, despite repeated requests to do so. When it comes to public participation, AICHR has been nothing short of a full-blown train wreck. The peoples of ASEAN should be asking how a purported “human rights commission” can operate while continually refusing to talk to those whose rights it is supposed to protect?

Link here.