Chee invited by Italian Govt to speak in Rome, S’pore Govt turns down his travel application

6 February 2007

Dr Chee Soon Juan
Alliance for Reform and Democracy in Asia

Dear Dr Chee Soon Juan,

I am pleased to inform you that the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in co-operation with the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI), is organizing the first meeting of the Working Group of the Community of Democracies on Promoting Democracy and Responding to National and Transnational Threats to Democracy, to be held in Rome, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on March 1, 2007.

The Community of Democracies is an intergovernmental organization of democracies and democratizing countries with a stated commitment to strengthening and deepening democratic norms and practices worldwide. It has established four Working Groups, one of which is chaired by Italy. The purpose of the Working Groups is to implement the Community of Democracies’ commitments and widen the support of countries, high-level representatives of International organizations and civil society to its activities.

The Rome Working Group will be divided into three sessions.

The first will be focused on The role of Community of Democracies in the Promotion of Democracy; the second on The Response of Democratic States to National and Transnational Threats to Democracy and the third on The Role of Civil Society in the Promotion of Human Rights and Democracy.

A report will be produced and presented at the next meeting of the Convening Group of the Community of Democracies.

The meeting will be on the record. The press will be allowed in the hall. Simultaneous translation will be provided from and into Italian and English.

I would be honoured if you could accept our invitation to participate in the working group and be a speaker in one of the sessions.

Thank you for your kind attention and consideration. I look forward to meeting you in Rome.

Best regards,

Gianni Vernetti
Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs

SDP’s note: The Community of Democracies was established in Warsaw, Poland in 1999 by democratic countries. The Singapore Government was not invited to the conference and was given only observer status in the 2005 conference in Santiago, Chile. Malaysia, on the other hand, was invited as a member.

Announcement: Dr Chee’s trial for attempting to leave Singapore without a permit will be decided tomorrow at 2:30 pm at Subordinate Court No 5. District Judge Aedit Abdullah will give the verdict.

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