Letters to President Nathan from Canada

Below are 2 letters sent to the SDP:

His Excellency President S R Nathan
Office of the President
Istana, Orchard Road
Singapore 0922
E-Mail: S_R_Nathan@Istana.gov.sg

Dear President Nathan,

We are deeply concerned by the new evidence of the disregard for human rights by the government of Singapore.

I am referring to the recent imprisonment of Dr. Chee Soon Juan. He has been persecuted for years by sophisticated means, which I am sure you would deny constituted denial of human rights, but which knowledgeable people around the world recognize as such.

I am completely puzzled as to why the Singapore government would feel these actions somehow benefit the people of Singapore.

A fresh approach to human rights – beginning with the release of Dr. Chee and granting him permission for foreign travel – would undoubtedly bring world wide acclaim for Singapore, not only as a productive economy and efficient administration (which it is), but also as a civilized democratic society.

I am confident that what is good for Dr. Chee is also good for the peace, tranquility and prosperity of Singapore.

David Wurfel
Prof. Emeritus of Political Science

York Centre for Asian Research

University of Windsor
Ontario, CANADA

Your Excellency,

I am writing to you as a member of Amnesty International.

I am dismayed to hear that Dr. Chee Soon Juan is in prison again.

I am very concerned that government critics and human rights defenders such as Dr Chee Soon Juan and his sister Chee Siok Chin continue to be penalised for the non-violent expression of their opinions.

I ask you sir, to emphasize that progress depends not only on economic advancement but also on respect for fundamental international human rights standards, including the right to express one’s opinions.

I would like to state that I welcome the government’s promise to build an “open society” and that I look forward to the fulfillment of that promise. What steps are being taken to ensure respect for the basic right to freedom of expression?

Thank you for your time in this urgent matter.

Steve Ogilvie
Ottawa, Ontario