MARUAH’s Statement: Abolish the Death Penalty

1 October 2020

1 October 2020

MARUAH is relieved that an interim stay of execution had been granted to Syed Suhail bin Syed Zin, and he was spared from being hanged to death on Friday, 18th September 2020. We are pleased that the Court of Appeal has ordered a subsequent hearing fixed on 6th October 2020 to hear further arguments on his case. MARUAH appreciates the appeal and the work of the pro bono team of lawyers and volunteers led by lawyer M Ravi which has led to this stay order, till the verdict at the hearing. Syed Suhail was sentenced to death on 2016 for drug trafficking.

Syed Suhail’s case has also brought to light that his personal correspondence including letters to his lawyer, had been sent by the Singapore Prison Service to the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC). There has been no statement from the AGC. But Ministry of Home Affairs had stated that, in 2018, there was “no legal prohibition’ to sharing correspondences. Numerous troubling questions have surfaced on what had happened in the past and the current legal prohibition that is available. Pertinently, MARUAH is concerned over the past practices as even if there was no legal provision, there is an inherent ethical code that correspondence on cases ought not be shared without approval of the inmate or the lawyer. We note that in a recent case in April this year, the Court of Appeal ruled that the prison service cannot pass to AGC the prisoners’ correspondences to lawyers or family members, without their consent or a court order. This chain of shared correspondences, inadvertently, raises questions related to the integrity of prosecutorial processes and prejudice. In the light of what Syed Suhail’s case is highlighting, MARUAH asks that an independent inquiry be held to ascertain breaches that have taken place in the past and to assess impact on the outcome against defendants in the court cases.

Singapore reviewed the Death Penalty in 2012 to review the charges that carried a mandatory death sentence for a person guilty of drug trafficking offence. It offered certificates of substantive assistance for drug traffickers who give assistance that enable broader investigations into the case for prosecution. The certificate offers an eligibility to be reprieved from capital punishment. MARUAH notes that Syed Suhail has not been given such a certificate. We ask what are the conditions that the accused persons have to fulfil in the process of offering assistance so that the prosecution will offer such certificates. There is a lack of transparency on the scoping of ‘assistance’, risking clarity on the certification.

MARUAH believes that death penalty is inconsistent with prevailing customary international law. Involved in a research with National University of Singapore, MARUAH has to accept that most Singaporeans still see the death penalty as a deterrent, keeping Singapore safe. To validate this belief, MARUAH asks that data on all forms of drug-related offences and number of executions be made public so that we can assess the co-relation between the death penalty and keeping Singapore drug-free. We agree that Singapore needs more debates and education on the death penalty so that citizens understand that this is an inhuman punishment as the death penalty constitutes a violation to the right to be free from cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. Singapore and Singaporeans can do better and work on alternative punishments, such as longer prison terms, instead of executions. MARUAH reiterates its call along with many committed stakeholders, that Singapore ought to look at the practices in many countries,[1] and so Abolish the Death Penalty.

MARUAH


[1] As of 2017, 106 countries had abolished the death penalty and 142 were abolitionist in law or practice, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

Capital punishment is meted out for drug-related crimes in 15 countries, but according to rights group Amnesty International only four countries recorded executions for drug offences in recent years – Singapore, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and China.


Public Consultation by MARUAH – Singapore Universal Periodic Review 2021 [Fri 2 Oct, 8pm (SG time)]

27 September 2020

Please register at https://forms.gle/KL9dMieoWzu7P3Yb7 before 11.59pm on Thursday, 1 October 2020. We will be sending the video conference link via email to all those who have registered.

Read more about:

MARUAH’s UPR submissions to the UN Human Rights Council: https://maruah.org/upr/

Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs on UPR: https://www.mfa.gov.sg/SINGAPORES-FOREIGN-POLICY/Key-Issues/Singapore-Universal-Periodic-Review

UN Human Rights Council’s UPR process: https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/BasicFacts.aspx

Thank you.


2020 International Day of Older Persons: “Pandemics: Do They Change How We Address Age and Ageing?”

24 September 2020

The year 2020 marks the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations and the 30th Anniversary of the International Day of Older Persons (UNIDOP). This year has also seen an emergence of  COVID-19, that has caused an upheaval across the world. Considering the higher risks confronted by older persons during the outbreak of pandemics such as COVID-19, policy and programmatic interventions must be targeted towards raising awareness of their special needs. Recognizing older persons contributions to their own health and the multiple roles they play in the preparedness and response phases of  current and  future pandemics is also important.

This year has also been recognised as the “Year of the Nurse and Midwife”. UNIDOP 2020 will highlight the role of the health care workforce in contributing to the health of older persons, with special recognition of the nursing profession, and a primary focus on the role of women- who are relatively undervalued and in most cases inadequately compensated.

The UNIDOP 2020 event will also promote the Decade of Healthy Ageing (2020-2030) and help bring together UN experts, civil society, government and the health professions to discuss the five strategic objectives of the Global Strategy and Action plan on Ageing and Health while noting the progress and challenges in their realization. The global strategy is well integrated into the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), while ageing issues cut across the 17 goals, especially Goal 3 which aims to “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being of all at all ages”. As stated by Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (Director-General, WHO)  “acting on the strategy, is a means for countries to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and ensure that every human being regardless of age will have an opportunity to fulfill their potential in dignity and equality”

The objectives of UNIDOP 2020 are to:

  1. Inform participants about the strategic objectives for the Decade of Healthy Ageing
  2. Raise awareness of the special health needs of older persons and of their contributions to their own health and to the functioning of the societies in which they live
  3. Increase awareness and appreciation of the role of the health care workforce in maintaining and improving the health of older persons, with special attention to the nursing profession
  4. Present proposals for reducing the health disparities between older persons in the developed and developing countries, so as to “Leave no one behind”
  5. Increase understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on older persons and its impact on health care policy, planning, and attitudes.

The event is co-organized by the NGO Committee on Ageing, New York and DESA, and co-sponsored the Permanent Mission of Argentina to the United Nations, in collaboration with the Group of Friends of Older Persons. The event will bring diverse participants from NGOs, Member States, academia and civil society.

The commemorative event will be held virtually on, 1 October 2020 from 9am to 12 pm (New York time).

The International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics is also holding a companion event that will be held virtually on the same day from 1pm to 3pm (New York time).

For more information, please contact ageing@un.org  @UN4Ageing @UNDESASocial #UNUNIDOP2020


[Webinar] Online Forum on the Impact of Covid-19 on the Rights of Migrant Workers in ASEAN (18 September 2020 10am)

18 September 2020

[Update] Recording of the online forum is now available! Please click on link below to watch this on YouTube.


[Repost] Penang Institute Monographs – Human Rights Derogations in Southeast Asian Countries during the Covid-19 Pandemic

5 September 2020

We are pleased to share a publication published by the Penang Institute. The “Human Rights Derogations in Southeast Asian Countries during the Covid-19 Pandemic” was written by Braema Mathiaparanam (Visiting Senior Research Fellow, History and Regional Studies Programme).

The full publication can be found at: https://penanginstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Human-Rights-Derogations-in-Southeast-Asian-Countries-during-the-Covid-19-Pandemic.pdf

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

  • The ASEAN Inter-Governmental Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights has issued a statement of concern and has reminded governments to continue observing human rights during the pandemic, and that even if some rights have to be restricted, this should not be done disproportionately.
  • All members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have pre-existing forms of restriction on the freedom of expression and press freedom as well as censorship, which intensified in this pandemic.
  • It is challenging to contain Covid-19 infections while ensuring that human rights are not derogated. However, the lockdown measures imposed in some countries in Southeast Asia during the containment period became opportunities to intimidate, detain and arrest opposition party members, activists and journalists.
  • Countries have also taken a strict stance on fake news and disinformation, leading to many arrests across countries. Increased surveillance was also used to track threats to authority figures and the government, alongside gaining evidence on criminal activities such as drug-trafficking and money laundering.
  • Certain communities were overlooked in government policies and assistance especially in terms of food and supply, economic aid and information sharing. Prisons and detention centres are overcrowded, leading to more outbreaks of Covid-19 infections.
  • Countries have national, regional and international obligations and responsibilities that they have agreed to and breaches of these state obligations need to be addressed, especially when the actions taken cannot be justified even as emergency measures.
  • Covid-19 will not be the last crisis, and governments can use lessons learnt from Covid-19 to improve their responses for the next crisis and take counter-measures that also adhere to human rights principles.

Post GE2020 Webinar: “Our Youth, Our Future” on 5 September 2020 (via Zoom)

5 September 2020

MARUAH hosted the GE2020 Post election webinar entitled “Our Youth, Our Future” this morning (5 September).

We would like to thank all our speakers, Discussant Prof Kenneth Paul Tan and Moderator Ms Braema Mathi for taking time to share their thoughts and contributing to a lively discussion. We also would like to thank all Zoom participants and viewers who watched the webinar via the Facebook livestream.

The video from the webinar has been uploaded to MARUAH YouTube channel at https://youtu.be/glRSVAvrdqE, please feel free to share this with all your contacts.

If you would like to join MARUAH as a volunteer, please fill in this form – https://bit.ly/3jLdqx6.

Thank you and we look forward to having you at our next online discussion. 

MARUAH Secretariat


INQUESTS FOR ALL DEATHS OF WORKERS AT WORKPLACE

18 August 2020

Prosecute for offences of killing and causing injury, not merely non-compliance of occupational safety and health requirements

We, the 49 undersigned groups, organizations and trade unions demand that Inquests (Inquiries into death) be conducted for all deaths at workplace, to ensure that justice be done, and ensure that those responsible for the death of workers are also charged and tried for killing crimes. Mere fines for non-compliance of occupational safety and health legal requirements, and no prosecution and penalizing those responsible for crimes of causing death and/or injury of workers is simply inadequate and unjust.

INQUESTS (Inquiries into the death), carried out by an Independent Coroner, in open court, to determine not simply the cause of death, but more importantly whether anyone is criminally liable for the death.

Criminal liability will determine also whether employers, owners, contractors and/or their officers ought to be prosecuted for murder, homicide or causing death by negligence, which are all criminal offences under the Malaysian Penal Code. If the risk of death is known, and there is a failure to do what is needed to keep workers safe, which resulted in the death of a worker, then it could be a murder or homicide.

Criminal liability for those responsible for worker’s deaths at workplaces

On 8 August, Zaid Berahim, 33, died in a factory in Bayan Lepas, Penang (Bernama, 8/8/2020).In mid-March 2020, Malaysians Azarul Ashraf Nor Akmal Zorkalnain, Che Huzaydy Che Harun, Norfazly Mad Nor, Faidhi Akmal Fadzil and Hadi Syafiq Jamil were reported killed in an accident at a refinery owned by PRefChem,  a joint venture between Petronas and Saudi Aramco.(Star, 17/3/2020).

At least 61 workers died at the workplace from January to March 2020, according to Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) data of   reported cases. In 2017, DOSH has recorded 711 deaths at the workplace (Malay Mail, 9/7/2018), but no one seems to have been charged for murder or homicide, let alone causing death by negligence for any of these many deaths.

The current practice seems to be simply fining guilty employers or others for non-compliance of workplace requirements and/or obligations to ensure workplace safety. Sadly, offences carry the same sentences, irrespective whether a worker died or was injured, in many workplace legislations including the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994(OSHA). Reasonably, when injury or death is caused by law breakers, there must be a higher deterrent sentence.

Worker’s lives matter, and all these deaths must be comprehensively investigated beyond merely looking at permit/licensing laws and/or occupational safety and health legal obligation compliance, but also whether any person may criminally liable for the crimes of causing death and/or injury.

Death of worker at workplace may be murder or homicide

Malaysian law, as it is now, states if there is ‘…knowledge that he is likely by such act[or omission] to cause death…’, a person commits the offence of culpable homicide.(Section 299 Penal Code)

It would be the more serious crime of murder ‘if the person committing the act knows that it is so imminently dangerous that it must in all probability cause death, or such bodily injury as is likely to cause death, and commits such act without any excuse for incurring the risk of causing death, or such injury as aforesaid.’(Section 300(d) of the Penal Code). The fact that one did not know that someone will be killed by their actions/omissions is irrelevant under this particular definition of murder.

Temerloh Fatal Accident Case could be Murder – A predictable and preventable death?

In Temerloh, in early March 2020, Md Shoriful, 43, and Julhas Rahman, 27, died by reason of being buried alive in a trench while working at a housing development construction site. This could be classified as murder.

The Malaysian Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB)’s Construction Industry Standard CIS 25:2018, as an example, categorizes this kind of work as HIGH risk, with the risk of death by being buried alive. As such, it is a known ‘imminently dangerous’ work, which can cause death, and any contractor or corporation involved in construction work ought to know this.  

To prevent such high risk death, there are clear legal obligations. For trenches/pits, for example, CIDB requires proper shoring, where the shoring design must also be approved by a Professional Engineer (PE) and periodically inspected. The dug-out soil is also required to be placed a certain distance away from the edge of the pit/trench, beyond the ‘zone of influence’. Reasonably, machinery that cause vibration that could cause stacked up soil beside a trench/pit falling back burying alive workers, should not be operating nearby when workers are working in such deep trenches.

Media reports about the Temerloh incident, amongst others, said ‘Both victims and the third worker are believed to have been inside a six metre-deep pit, while two machines were excavating earth on the ground above the pit. “Heaps of soil which had collected at the edge of the pit then began falling during the excavation works, burying the two workers,” said Temerloh district police chief Assistant Commissioner Mohd Yusri Othman.’(New Straits Times, 6/3/2020)

From just these known facts itself, the legal requirements for it to be classified as a murder or homicide case, would have been fulfilled. However, there has been no subsequent news whatsoever whether the police are even conducting a murder investigation.

Inquest prevents ‘cover ups’ and failings – Muhammad Adib’s case

Even if the law enforcement authorities fail to act, an INQUEST finding certainly can prevent possible ‘cover-ups’, corrupt practices and other failings. It will ensure investigations and possibly prosecutions of those criminally liable for the deaths.

An inquest was carried out in the case of the death of a fireman who died in Malaysia in November 2018, while carrying out his work. ‘The death of fireman Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim was a result of a criminal act by more than two people, an inquest ruled nine months after his death.’(New Straits Times, 27/9/2019).

This inquest finding did result in further police investigations, and recently the Malaysian police disclosed even further plans of setting up a review team to probe into all aspects regarding the death.(Malay Mail, 10/7/2020). There is still much public pressure for the prosecution of those who are criminally liable for Adib’s death.

Inquest overcomes inadequacies of law and practice

An inquest by an independent Coroner, is a recognized right in Malaysia for all deaths, and it should NOT only be done for victims who die by reason of stabbing, shooting and/or beatings, but for all persons that die including workers killed at workplaces.

The Coroner, being  a judicial officer usually a Magistrate, is a person independent from the various law enforcement agencies, can and will do a determination that will overcome failings and/or mistakes, of  responsible for law enforcers.

In workplace deaths, which is usually covered by many different laws and different agencies, where most agencies may act simply in accordance to the particular law that they are responsible for. An Inquest will be able to look at every aspects including law and legal obligations, including also the Penal Code, in their determination of criminal liability.

We reiterate that persons responsible for workplace deaths can be charged and tried for murder or homicide, simply by reason of failure to do the needful, to reduce risk or prevent deaths, when their failings caused death.

INQUEST for all Deaths is provided by Law

Malaysian Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) clearly provides that a magistrate shall hold an INQUEST (inquiry into death) for all deaths, whereby during such inquest, the Coroner (usually a Magistrate or Judge) shall determine as to when, where, how and after what manner the deceased came by his death and also whether any person is criminally concerned in the cause of the death.(Section 333 and 337 CPC).

An INQUEST is open to the public, and, as such, any interested party (and/or their lawyers), including trade unions, can be involved in the inquest, with the capacity of even calling and examining witnesses, and tendering additional evidence to assist an independent Coroner make a determination into the cause of death, which includes also whether any person (including corporations and their officers) could be criminally liable for the death – murder, culpable homicide or causing death by negligence.

Inquest for workplace deaths must consider all relevant laws and facts

For Inquests of deaths at workplaces, the Coroner needs to consider all relevant employer, owner and controller of worksites legal obligations. In Malaysia, there are clear obligations, amongst others, requirements about permits/license, qualification of workers and even standard of materials/equipment used. A failure to get a relevant permit, for example, for the storage of dangerous substance, can result in failure of relevant enforcement agencies inspecting and ensuring due compliance.

In 2018, we saw a case where the  employer or factory owner did not having the permit to store hazardous material, which resulted in ammonia poisoning that killed 2 workers died and injured 18 others(Sun Daily, 13/8/2018). This case could be classified as murder or homicide.

The Coroner must consider whether it is a known risk, and whether the employer, owner and contractor did all that was required by law to prevent deaths, especially from predictable and preventable risks. A failure may result in being criminally liable for murder, homicide or even at the very least the crime of causing death by negligence.

For a construction site fatal accident, the relevant agencies that ought to be assisting the Coroner during an Inquest may include also the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH), Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB), the Local Government, all approving authorities and other relevant agencies.

Protecting Workers Lives Must Be a Government Priority

Malaysian laws, policies are in serious need of reforms, with the object of ensuring safe working environment, and preventing worker deaths and injuries.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994, there is still no clear legal obligations to even keep workers safe from Covid-19 or other occupational diseases. There is still no specific workplace regulations, made in accordance with this law that is the primary legislation dealing with workplace safety and health, which imposes clear legal obligations on employer or workplace owners to keep workers safe from even Covid-19, where a breach will be an offence with clear penalties. Only regulations by the Ministry of Health of general application currently exist.

Malaysia also still do not have offence of industrial manslaughter, which deals with workplace deaths. For example, in Queensland, Australia, industrial manslaughter is committed when a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU), or a senior officer, to negligently cause the death of a worker, whereby the  maximum penalty is 20 years imprisonment for an individual, or $10M for a body corporate.

Therefore, we call

– That public Inquest(Inquiries into death) be conducted for all worker deaths at workplaces by the Coroner;

– That an inquest be forthwith conducted for death of Md Shoriful (43) and Julhas Rahman (27), who died after being buried alive working in a deep trench to determine whether anyone ought to be charged for murder or homicide;

– That the government enact laws that provide for a higher penalty, if by reason of non-compliance of laws, injury or death of workers happens;

– That the government prioritizes worker safety and health, and make the needed legal, policy and practice reforms.

Charles Hector

Apolinar Tolentino

For and on behalf of the following 49 groups and trade unions

ALIRAN

Building and Wood Workers International (BWI) Asia Pacific Region

Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) South East Asia Coalition

UNI Global Union- Asia and Pacific Regional Organisation (UNI APRO)

WH4C (Workers Hub For Change)

SUARAM

AMMPO-SENTRO- Association of Filipino Nationalist Workers in Malaysia

Bangladesh Group Netherlands

Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), India 

Cement Industry Employees Union (CIEU)

Center for Alliance of Labor and Human Rights (CENTRAL), Cambodia

Electronic Industry Employees Union Southern Region Peninsular Malaysia(EIEUSRPM)/Kesatuan Sekerja Industri Elektronik Wilayah Selatan, Semenanjung Malaysia (KSIEWSSM)

IMA Research Foundation, Bangladesh

International Black Women for Wages for Housework

Jaringan Solidariti Pekerja (JSP)

Kesatuan Pekerja Atlas Edible Ice Sdn. Bhd.

Labour Behind the Label(LBL), United Kingdom

MADPET (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture)

Malay Forest Officers’ Union (MFOU)

MARUAH, Singapore

Marvi Rural Development Organization (MRDO), Pakistan

Migrant Care

NAMM (Network of Action for Migrants in Malaysia)

National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (NUFAM)

National Union of Transport Equipment and Allied Industries Workers (NUTEAIW) West Malaysia

North South Initiative(NSI)

Odhikar, Bangladesh

Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM)

Payday Men’s Network, UK

Payday Men’s Network, US

Penang Stop Human Trafficking Campaign

Persatuan Komuniti Prihatin Selangor & KL (PRIHATIN)

Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor (PSWS)

Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA)

PKNS Employees Union

Programme Against Custodial Torture and Impunity (PACTI), India

Sabah Timber Industry Employees Union (STIEU)

Safety and Rights Society (SRS), Bangladesh

SAVE (Social Awareness and Voluntary Education), India

Singapore Anti Death Penalty Campaign

Sosialis Alternatif (SA)

Tamkeen for Legal Aid and Human Rights- Jordan

Tenaganita

Timber Employees’ Union Peninsular Malaysia (TEUPM)

Timber Industry Employees’ Union of Sarawak (TIEUS)

Union of Employees in Construction Industry (UECI)

Union of Forest Department Employees Sarawak (UFES)

Women of Color/Global Women’s Strike

Workers Assistance Center, Inc. Philippines


GE2020: Our Youth, Our Future (registration closed)

14 August 2020

Please follow the ‘live-stream’ of the webinar on MARUAH’s Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MARUAHsg/ from 10.00am onwards on 5 September 2020.

Should there be any technical issues with Facebook, please view the webinar on MARUAH’s YouTube Channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/MARUAHSG/, we hope to upload the video by 2.00pm on 5 September 2020.

The webinar will be led by Discussant Prof Kenneth Paul Tan (https://lkyspp.nus.edu.sg/our-people/faculty/kenneth-paul-tan) and Moderator Ms Braema Mathi (https://sg.linkedin.com/in/braema-mathi-88b95216).

Our panellists are –

Mr Charles Yeo, Advocate and Solicitor

Reform Party’s candidate in GE2020

Charles is a practising lawyer and political activist in Singapore and also serves as the Chairman of the Reform Party. During the webinar, he will be speaking on how the law has a chilling effect on civil society generally and how a culture of intimidation and fear is used to create a system of self-censorship

Mr Nicholas Tang, Law Engineer

Red Dot United’s candidate in GE2020

Nicholas is keenly interested in political and social issues and shares the concerns, experience and challenges of young Singaporeans as they deal with an increasingly daunting and globalised world. He is determined to understand the problems faced by his peers; to help improve the lives of future generations and strongly feels that participation in civil discourse is the duty of every citizen.

Ms Vigneswari Diana Ramachandran, Teacher

People’s Voice Party’s candidate in GE2020

Vigneswari currently serves as the teacher of Citikids Edventure at Bukit Panjang, responsible for children aged 6 years old preparing teaching aids, lesson materials, observations, summary reports,  work samples and children’s progress also linking home school partnership projects between the school and parents. She has 12 years of teaching experience in the preschool education industry and in other sectors such as in retail. She is also the member of People’s Voice Party. 

During the webinar, she will be addressing the educational system in Singapore and the issues faced in the preschool sector from teachers’, operators’, and students’ perspective. 

Mr Terence Soon Jun Wei, Aviation Professional

Head of Youth Wing

Progress Singapore Party’s candidate in GE2020

Terence currently heads the youth wing in the Progress Singapore Party (PSP), also known as the PSP Youth Catalyst. He was a candidate in the recent GE 2020, contesting under the PSP’s banner in Tanjong Pagar GRC.

Terence is an aviation professional; formerly running a business dealing with the brokerage of private aircraft, before joining Singapore Airlines in 2015 where he is currently a Pilot operating the Boeing 777 jets.

Terence will be discussing about the youth effect on GE 2020’s results, and what youth in Singapore can, and must, do in the years ahead in order to effect the change that they want to see in our society. Terence strongly believes that youths are not only the leaders of tomorrow, but they can be the leaders of today.

Ms Min Cheong, Writer and Marketing Communications Strategist

Singapore Democratic Party’s candidate in GE2020

Min is a seasoned writer and marketing communications strategist who has worked for multinational corporations, start-ups, and non-profit organisations across industries spanning consumer technology, telecommunications, lifestyle, and education. 

She joined the SDP in 2011 as a volunteer in the policy studies unit, and was a counting agent for the party in both the 2011 and 2015 General Elections before becoming more active in her contributions. She is now a member of the Young Democrats, Women Democrats, and Communications teams.

Min is an advocate of open public discourse, and is also passionate about what she calls Workforce Wellness – an overarching approach to reforming how we live and work – covering issues ranging from socio-economic sustainability, job creation and innovation, career empowerment, organisational culture, and personal wellbeing.

She believes in harnessing information, innovation and technology as tools people can use to empower themselves, share ideas and better the world; and supports enlightened, compassionate, and respectful leadership focused on value-creation above profit-generation.


All are welcome to attend the webinar, should the Zoom attendance limit be reached, please follow the live streaming on MARUAH’s Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MARUAHsg/


[Repost] Statement of love & support for all members of our LGBT+ community in Singapore

13 August 2020

https://heckinunicorn.com/pages/statement-love-support-lgbt-members-community-in-singapore

We stand in solidarity with everyone in Singapore’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender-diverse, intersex, non-binary & queer (LGBT+) community.

We extend our love to those who are questioning, exploring, or even struggling with your gender identity, sexual orientation, and/or attractions. We feel your loneliness, and we hear you.

We reach out especially to those among us who have survived attempts to change us through conversion practices. We feel your shame and your pain. We see you for who you are, in your beloved wholeness.

We believe that faith and religion may be comforting resources, but we also acknowledge the evidence that shows the harm and trauma that conversion practices can cause us.

We are here to offer you a safe and affirming space to be yourself.  We feel your strength and your resilience, and we extend our compassion.

Above all, we are here to let you know that you are not alone.

You are not alone. We’re here.

Statement prepared by Heckin’ Unicorn & Oogachaga.

For a full list of community organisations in Singapore which jointly supported this statement, please visit https://heckinunicorn.com/pages/statement-love-support-lgbt-members-community-in-singapore


[Espacio Público] Organizations in the region demand the Venezuelan Government’s compliance with their human rights obligations amid the humanitarian and sanitary emergency in the country

5 August 2020

4 August 2020

Human rights organizations that sign on to  this statement condemn the escalation in reprisals and persecution of the Venezuelan people for the exercise of their fundamental human rights. An unprecedented  Venezuelan humanitarian emergency has been severely aggravated by the sanitary crisis generated by the  COVID-19 virus. The signatory organizations urge  the Venezuelan Government to respect and guarantee the exercise of human rights without discrimination.

A joint declaration of United Nations experts and Special Rapporteurs published on the 29th of June details the current  living conditions of the Venezuelan people. According to the “Living Conditions Survey” of 2019/2020, 79.3% of Venezuelan homes cannot afford basic food supplies, 96% of Venezuelan families are classified as poor and 79% can be classified as living in extreme poverty. In addition,  21% of children under the age of 5 are at grave risk of malnutrition. During the COVID-19 pandemic unemployment rates have increased by 6.9%. and 43% of Venezuelan families have been unable to work and have registered losses in their income.

Another UN joint declaration, published on the 28th of June gives a thorough account of the repressive context during the first third of the year, in which at least 51 attacks against human rights defenders and organizations have been documented. The illegitimate «National Constituent Assembly» is also trying to pass a law that would prohibit and limit international funding of civil society organizations, which would increase the operational limitations of organizations to submit documentation or update their status before administrative institutions.

There has also been an increase in surveillance, hacking and the blocking of web pages of human rights organizations. The use of sophisticated methods, such as the creation of fake reports that lead to  web providers’ closing their web pages and blocking access to their information  has also increased.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights released a report on July 3rd,  2020 indicating that between March and June of 2020 there has been an arbitrary use of the “State of Alarm” in Venezuela. The military, security forces and the judicial power have carried out arbitrary detentions, brief forced disappearances, and initiated judicial processes against activists, journalists, health personnel and human rights defenders. The report reveals a pattern of human rights violations  against  people who have supposedly participated in “destabilization actions against the government”.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) released a press release on July 15,expressing concern regarding the continuing hostility and a discourse of criminalization  against human rights activists in the context generated by the pandemic. “The IACHR reiterated its call to the Venezuelan State to adopt measures to combat stigmatization campaigns targeted at  those who defend human rights in the country as it had signaled before in its Press Release No. 40/19.”

The undermining of civic space and democracy in Venezuela is evident in systematic violations of human rights, generally committed within the framework of security operations, including the repression of protests and media coverage, or political persecution against the dissemination of opinions and/or the work of human rights defenders seeking to confront the authorities’ abuses during the pandemic. The response of the Venezuelan government continues to be focused on the repression and censorship of its citizens, which, in addition to affecting civic space, compounds the effects on other human rights, including citizens’ economic, social and environmental rights.

Most of the cases that have been documented by Venezuelan organizations report the use of the “internal enemy” thesis. The concentration of all powers in the Executive branch is used to punish the “opposition” or people perceived as such, which in turn creates an inhibitory  effect that silences all possible opinions or protests against the current crisis.

These violations are bound to be exacerbated due to the absence of judicial independence and impartiality. As the UN High Commissioner   indicated in her July 15th report on access to justice: “The information at hand suggests that the Judges of the TSJ (Supreme Court) have control of the judgments issued by lower courts throughout the country, especially in the criminal jurisdiction. The lack of job stability for criminal prosecutors also affects their impartiality. Almost all of them are provisional and may be removed at the discretion of the the Attorney General. The Attorney General was elected by the Constitutive National Assembly” using a process that does not respect constitutional requirements.”

The human rights organizations that sign on to this statement urge the Venezuelan  government to respect and guarantee the exercise of fundamental rights of Venezuelan citizens, which are of even greater importance during the pandemic. In addition, the Venezuelan government should facilitate dialogue with and democratic participation of civil society for the sake of generating structural and human rights-friendly solutions to this crisis. In this sense, we request the following:

1. Compliance with  the recommendations included  in the reports of the UN High Commissioner for  Human Rights  and the Inter-American Commission and Court of Human Rights’  reports, hearings and precautionary measures. .

2. Cooperation with and  application of the recommendations given by the Treaty Bodies and Special Procedures of the United Nations.

3. The reestablishment of the rule of law and democracy through t Venezuela’s constitutional channels to overcome the crisis in a peaceful way.

References

https://spcommreports.ohchr.org/TMResultsBase/DownLoadPublicCommunicationFile?gId=25229

https://spcommreports.ohchr.org/TMResultsBase/DownLoadPublicCommunicationFile?gId=25212

https://www.civilisac.org/civilis/wp-content/uploads/Informe-sobre-Patrones-de-Violaci%C3%B3n-de-DDHH-Completo-01.pdf

http://www.oas.org/es/cidh/prensa/comunicados/2020/165.asp

https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/RegularSessions/Session44/Documents/A_HRC_44_54_UnofficialSpanishTranslation.pdf

Signatory organisations:

Associação Brasileira de Jornalismo Investigativo (Abraji) – Brasil

Alerta Venezuela 

CIVICUS – Global

Derechos Digitales – América Latina

Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human rights and the Rule of Law – Kazakhstan

MARUAH – Singapore

Partnership for Integrated Protection (PPI) – Congo

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights – EEUU

R3D: Red en Defensa de los Derechos Digitales – México

ROLBG Human Rights – Gabon

Usuarios Digitales – Ecuador

Venezuela Inteligente – Venezuela 

Alianza Regional por la Libre Expresión e Información – América Latina

Members:

Asociación Nacional de la Prensa de Bolivia – Bolivia

Observatorio Cubano de Derechos Humanos – Cuba

Fundación Violeta B de Chamorro – Nicaragua

Instituto de Derecho y Economía Ambiental – Paraguay

Fundación Ciudadanía y Desarrollo – Ecuador

Fundación Salvadoreña por el Desarrollo Económico y Social – El Salvador

Transparencia por Colombia – Colombia

Fundación Democracia sin Fronteras (FDsF) – Honduras

Centro de Archivos y Acceso a la Información Pública (CAinfo) – Uruguay

ARTICLE 19 – Brasil

Fundar – México

Acción Ciudadana (AC) – Guatemala

Comité por la Libre Expresión (C-Libre) – Honduras

Participación Ciudadana – República Dominicana

Transparencia Venezuela