Think Centre welcomes the pledge by the Government of Singapore to do more on human rights but is disappointed that recommendations regarding key concerns such as abolition of capital punishment and the Internal Security Act, the establishment of independent election body and national human rights institution, continues to be rejected.
Geneva (22 Sept) - Think Centre (TC), one of the longstanding political NGOs in Singapore, made a oral statement today in response to the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the nation-state at the 18th session of the United Nations (U.N) Human Rights Council. The UPR is a U.N mechanism that provides an opportunity to examine and remedy the gaps towards effective and meaningful implementation of human rights in Member States, such as Singapore. As an independent stakeholder, TC had submitted a joint civil society stakeholders report as well as an individual report to the Council.
Speaking after the Singapore Permanent Representative and 12 allotted Member states (9 were fellow ASEAN member states), TC President Kong Soon Tan took to the podium amongst 5 other NGO representatives, to read a brief statement before the Human Rights Council.
In its delivered statement, TC called on the Singapore Government to do more to enhance its human rights record following the civil and political evolution of Singapore society as shown in the results of its recent general and Presidential elections.
Principally, TC urged the government to re-visit its positions on both capital punishment and preventive detention laws with a view towards complete abolition. TC recommended to the government to impose an indefinite moratorium on the death penalty and allow space for Singapore society to debate on its application besides exploring alternate sentencing options. TC also repeated its call for the government to repeal the Internal Security Act (ISA) and Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Act (CLPTA) as existing criminal legislations provided necessary measures to maintain national security.
The Government was further urged to adopt a human rights based approach in the consideration of implementing a minimum wage for all workers as well as to align current labour legislations with international standards to better protect rights of migrant workers.
TC welcomed the positive decision by the Singapore Government to accept 32 more recommendations that were earlier pending and its pledge to stay engaged and be open to further changes for the betterment of human rights in Singapore. However, it remains disappointing, recommendations regarding key concerns such as abolition of capital punishment, establishment of a national human rights institution and independent elections body continues to be rejected.
Looking ahead, TC pledges to continue engaging the Singapore Government and civil society in the promotion and protection of human rights for the people of Singapore. In particular, it will monitor closely the follow-up actions as promised by the Government and looks forward to working with it, in the spirit of a more consultative and inclusive norm mentioned by the Prime Minister.
Kong Soon Tan
Think Centre is a member of Forum-Asia
Sources and Relevant Links:
Think Centre Singapore UPR Report:Forum Asia-Think Centre Oral Statement 22 September 2011
Singapore UPR Reports A/HRC/18/11 Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review - Singapore
Singapore UPR Reports A/HRC/18/11/Add.1 Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review - Singapore - Addendum - Views on conclusions and/or recommendations, voluntary commitments and replies presented by the State under review
United Nation Webcast Forum Asia Consideration of Singapore UPR Reports, 21st Plenary Meeting Mr. Kong Soon Tan, Think Centre - Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development, 22 September 2011
Forum Asia 18th HRC Regular Session UPR Plenary: Oral Statement on Singapore 22 September 2011
HRW Human Rights Watch Statement 21 September 2011
Think Centre Singapore: UPR CSO and Government submissions 01 November 2010