Democracy institutions all over the world call on the IBA to speak up on Singapore

October 11, 2007
Singapore Democrats

This post is at least a year old. Some of the links in this post may no longer work correctly.

International organisations across the world have endorsed a resolution urging the International Bar Association (IBA) to speak up on human rights abuses in Singapore during its conference next week.

The IBA’s annual conference is scheduled to begin this Sunday 14 Oct 07 and last through till 19 Oct.

Organisations such as the World Movement for Democracy, the Council for the Community of Democracies, Liberal International and the Club of Madrid as well prominent lawmakers and democracy advocates are signatories to the resolution, putting Singapore firmly on the radar of the global democracy movement.

They are calling for the IBA to “express its concern at the lack of respect for the rule of law in Singapore” and to “urge the Singapore government to practice the rule of law and not the rule by law by signing and ratifying the ICCPR (international Covenant of Civil and Political Rights).”

The IBA will organise a one-day Rule of Law Symposium on 19 Oct 07 (For more information and to register, click here). Singaporeans are encouraged to attend the Symposium to see how Singapore can better adhere to the rule of law.

The Resolution

THIS RESOLUTION calls on the IBA which is holding its prestigious annual conference in Singapore from October 14-19, 2007, to take an unequivocal stand on the human rights violations and curtailment of democratic development in Singapore. Such a stand is consistent with principles outlined in the IBA’s 2005 Resolution on the Rule of Law adopted in Prague.

Appreciative of the effort made by the IBA to hold the Rule of Law Symposium during its annual conference and opening the attendance to members of the public in Singapore;

Concerned that there are several outstanding cases of criminal prosecution and police investigation against democracy activists for speaking in public and for holding public gatherings in Singapore;

Aware of the on-going defamation suits against the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) and the Far Eastern Economic Review by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew as well as numerous past cases of defamation suits brought on by ruling People’s Action Party leaders and officials against members of opposition parties;

Vexed by the continued ban on SDP Secretary-General Chee Soon Juan’s travel overseas as well as the disbarment of his standing for elections as a result of his bankruptcy from repeated defamation suits;

Alarmed at the award of summary judgments to the PAP plaintiffs in defamation lawsuits in 2001 and 2006 involving Chee Soon Juan, Chee Siok Chin and the SDP, and the con-sistent and repeated awarding of cases to the Singapore Government and the PAP in court cases by the Judiciary;

Noting the use of detention without trial on political dissidents and the intimidation of released political prisoners;

Wary that there is no independent election commission and that elections are conducted by the Elections Department which is supervised by the Prime Minister’s Office;

Saddened by the control of the media through state-owned companies like MediaCorp and the Singapore Press Holdings as well as the ban on political films and videos;

Observing that Singapore has yet to ratify the United Nation’s International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR);

Regretting that one of the objectives of the IBA’s Rule of Law Symposium on 19 October 2007 is to give participants “a clear understanding of the Asian perspective of the Rule of Law.”

NOW THEREFORE THAT WE, the undersigned, call on the IBA to:

Express its concern at the abuse of human rights by the Singapore government and the lack of respect for the rule of law in Singapore;

Urge the Singapore government to practice the rule of law and not the rule by law by signing and ratifying the ICCPR;

Call on the Singapore government to respect the universality of human rights as en-shrined in the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Meet with Singaporean dissidents and victims of the Singapore Government’s human rights violations and invite them to speak at the Rule of Law Symposium.

Reject the notion of the “Asian perspective” of the Rule of Law and reaffirm its commitment to the universal concept of the Rule of Law.

Inform its members of the human rights situation in Singapore by posting this resolution on its website.

Signed,

Mr Carl Gershman
President
National Endowment for Democracy
www.ned.org

Ms Ayo Obe
Member (Nigeria) and Chair, Steering Committee
World Movement for Democracy
www.wmd.org

Mr Richard Rowson
President
Council for Community of Democracies
www.ccd21.org

Lord John Alderdice
President
Liberal International
www.liberal-international.org

Mr Ted Piccone
Executive Director
Democracy Coalition Project
www.demcoalition.org

Mr Sean Carroll
Program Director
Club of Madrid
www.clubmadrid.org

Mr Vincent Brossel
Head of the Asia Desk
Reporters Without Borders
www.rsf.org

Mr Graham Watson
Member
European Parliament
www.grahamwatsonmep.org

Mr. Neric Acosta
Secretary General
Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats
www.cald.org

Ms Emily Lau
Member, Legislative Council
Frontier Party, Hong Kong
www.emilylau.org.hk

Mr Sam Rainsy
Opposition Leader
Member of Parliament
Sam Rainsy Party, Cambodia
www.samrainsyparty.org

Ms Tioulong Saumura
Member of Parliament
Sam Rainsy Party, Cambodia
www.samrainsyparty.org

Mr. Wang Dan
Leader, Tiananmen Square Protest
Member, Steering Committee
Alliance for Reform and Democracy in Asia
www.asiademocracy.org

Mr. Larry Diamond
Board Member
National Endowment for Democracy
www.ned.org

Ms Cecilia Wigstrom
Member of Parliament
Liberal Party, Sweden
www.riksdagen.se

Dr. Herta Däubler-Gmelin
Chairperson
Committee of Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid
German Parliament
http://www.bundestag.de

Mr. Basil Fernando
Executive Director of the Asian Human Rights Commission
and the Asian Legal Resource Cetnre
www.ahrchk.net

Mr. Bo Tedards
Co-ordinator
World Movement for Democracy in Asia
www.wfda.net

Ms May-sing Yang
Vice president
Taiwan Foundation for Democracy
www.tfd.org

Mr. Gus Miclat
Executive Director
Initiatives for international Dialogue
www.iidnet.org

Mr. Timothy Cooper
Executive Director
Worldrights
www.world-rights.org

Mr. Fred Lubang
Regional Representative
Nonviolence International
www.nonviolenceinternational.net

Ambassador Julio A. Jeldres
Chairman of the Khmer Institute of Democracy
www.bigpond.com.kh/

Mr. Matteo Mecacci
Vice-President of the Senate, UN Representative
Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty
www.radicalparty.org

Mr. Sivarasa Rasiah
Vice President
Parti Kaedilan Rakyat, Malaysia
www.keadilanrakyat.org

Mr. Chua Tian Chang
Chief Information Officer
Parti Kaedilan Rakyat, Malaysia
www.keadilanrakyat.org

Mr. Law Yuk Kai
Executive Director
Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor
www.hkhrm.org.hk

Mr. Roby Alamplay
Executive Director
Southeast Asian Press Alliance
www.seapabkk.org

Dr Richard A. Deck
Richard A. Deck, Chair, Political and Collaboration Committee, and
Co-Chair, By-laws Committee
Burmese American Democratic Alliance
www.badasf.org

Dr Vo Van Ai
President,
Quê Me: Action for Democracy in Vietnam
www.queme.net

Ms Penelope Faulkner
Vice-President,
Vietnam Committee on Human Rights
www.queme.net

Mr Princewill Akpakpan
Head
Legal/ Litigation Unit
Civil Liberties Organisation, Nigeria
www.africaaction.org

Mr. David Matas
Chair
Canadian Helsinki Watch Group
www.ihf-hr.org

Mike Mitchell
Orion Strategies
Washington, D. C.
http://www.manta.com/coms2/dnbcompany_754jc

Dr. Paul Scott
Member, Steering Committee
Alliance for Reform and Democracy in Asia
www.asiademocracy.org

Mr. Ramon Casiple
Executive Director
Institute for Political and Electoral Reform (IPER)
Philippines
www.iper.org.ph