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The first ever meeting of Asian and European liberals and democrats was held at the South Korean Parliament complex in Seoul. On the last day of the three-day conference on 1 November 2002, the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats (CALD) and its European counterpart the European Liberal, Democractic and Reform (ELDR) Group of the European Parliament signed a resolution calling on the Singapore government to adhere to its constitutional principles of “freedom of speech and freedom of assembly” and to uphold the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to which Singapore is a signatory. Below is the full test of the resolution.
CALD Resolution 4, S 2002
A resolution expressing concern over the arrest and conviction of Dr. Chee Soon Juan and Mr. Gandhi Ambalam and continued detention of Dr. Chee, and strongly urging the Government of the Republic of Singapore to reaffirm its commitment to the fundamental principles contained in the Constitution of Singapore and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to which Singapore is a signatory
Aware that last May 1, 2002, Dr. Chee Soon Juan and Mr. Gandhi Ambalam and other members and supporters of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) held a public rally;
Knowing that Labor Day was chosen by the SDP in order to underscore the opposition partys concern regarding the lack of opportunities for Singaporean workers to organize themselves and protect their rights and interests;
Saddened that Dr. Chee and Mr. Ambalam were arrested during this Labor Day rally for speaking without a permit and later convicted and fined for S$ 4,500 and S$ 3,000 respectively;
Noting that Dr. Chee had chosen to serve a default jail sentence while Mr. Ambalam was subsequently bailed by his own family due to his heart ailment;
Citing that Dr. Chee had previously been jailed twice for refusing to pay the fine, once for seven days and another for twelve days, making his current detention of five weeks the longest yet;
Believing that Singapore’s interests are best served by adherence to her own Constitutional provision regarding “freedom of speech and freedom of assembly” as set out in Article 14 and to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and, further, that such adherence will ultimately benefit Southeast Asia as a region of peace, prosperity, progress, justice and democracy;
Now therefore, be it resolved that the Council of Asian Liberals & Democrats (CALD), which is a forum of political parties dedicated to the task of promoting the basic values of liberal democracy, express concern over the arrest and conviction of Dr. Chee Soon Juan and Mr. Gandhi Ambalam and continued detention of Dr. Chee, and strongly urge the Government of the Republic of Singapore to reaffirm its commitment to the fundamental principles contained in the Constitution of Singapore and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to which Singapore is a signatory.
M. R. Sukhumbhand Paribatra, MP
Chairman of the Council of Asian Liberals & Democrats
For: Democrat Party of Thailand, Democratic Progressive Party of Taiwan, Liberal Party of the Philippines, Liberal Party of Sri Lanka, National Council of the Union of Burma, Sam Rainsy Party and Singapore Democratic Party
Expressing the support of the European Liberal, Democratic & Reform Group of the European Parliament
1 November 2002