US State Department Annual Human Rights Report on Singapore

Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
10 Mar 07

Singapore is a parliamentary republic in which the People’s Action Party (PAP), in power since 1959, overwhelmingly dominates politics. The population was approximately 4.35 million, with foreign workers accounting for nearly one fifth of the total. Opposition parties exist, and parliamentary elections take place at regular, constitutionally mandated intervals (most recently in May). The PAP holds 82 of 84 elected parliamentary seats and all ministerial positions. The civilian authorities generally maintained effective control of the security forces.

The government has broad powers to limit citizens’ rights and to handicap political opposition, which it used. Caning is an allowable punishment for numerous offenses. The following human rights problems were reported: preventive detention, executive influence over the judiciary, infringement of citizens’ privacy rights, restriction of speech and press freedom and the practice of self-censorship by journalists, restriction of freedom of assembly and freedom of association, some restriction of freedom of religion, and some trafficking in persons.

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