The Sorry State of Human Rights in Singapore

5 December 2016

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Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10 December. It commemorates the day on which, in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In Singapore, MARUAH, a human rights organisation, will mark the day with a public meeting at Hong Lim Park to draw much needed attention to the state of Human Rights in our country. Speakers at the event include: Teo Soh Lung; Paul Tambyah; Terry Xu; Sean Francis Han; Jolovan Wham; Han Hui Hui; Gilbert Goh; M Ravi; Tan Kin Lian and Leong Sze Hian.

As highlighted by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, ‘Many of us are fearful about the way the world is heading. Extremist movements subject people to horrific violence. Conflicts and deprivation are forcing families from their homes. Climate change darkens our horizons – and everywhere, it seems, anxieties are deepening. Humane values are under attack, and we feel overwhelmed – unsure what to do or where to turn.’

‘Join us. Help break the toxic patterns of a fearful world and embark on a more peaceful, more sustainable future. We don’t have to stand by while the haters drive wedges of hostility between communities – we can build bridges. Wherever we are, we can make a real difference. In the street, in school, at work, in public transport; in the voting booth, on social media, at home and on the sports field.’

‘Wherever there is discrimination, we can step forward to help safeguard someone’s right to live free from fear and abuse. We can raise our voices for decent values. We can join others to publicly lobby for better leadership, better laws and greater respect for human dignity.’

Event details
Date : 10 December 2016
Time : 4.00pm to 7.00pm
Venue : Speakers’ Corner
Hong Lim Park
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The role of the press in Singapore

5 December 2016

Please see below for a research paper written by Ms Elsy Byuma, a law student from Belgium, on the role of the press in Singapore.

the-role-of-the-press-in-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.

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Post-Elections Forum 19 Sept 2015

23 September 2015

Alex Au (starting at 13:00)

Alex’s slides can be found here and his thoughts on the issues raised at the forum are on his Yawning Bread website.

Sudhir Vadaketh

Sudhir has also posted the three questions he asked at sudhirtv.com

Derek da Cunha

Presentation slides are here

Rafiz Hapipi

Prof Jack Lee

Prof Lee’s slides on legal and procedural issues related to the election.

Terry Xu

Audience Questions & Answers


Apolitical Club Guide to Elections in Singapore

8 September 2015

The SMU Apolitical Club has released “A Guide to General Elections in Singapore”. Not to worry if you haven’t been able to get your hands on this very informative booklet. It’s freely available for download from their website. Excellent work on the part of the students and other members of the SMU community.


Vote with confidence

8 September 2015

election_jargon2 election_voting


Forum letter on MDA regulations

4 June 2013

Please see below for our letter to the Straits Times forum on the recent changes to the Broadcasting Act by the Media Development Authority.

http://www.straitstimes.com/premium/forum-letters/story/laws-already-exist-regulate-news-websites-20130604