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The United Nations (UN) has released its report in the recently concluded Universal Periodic Review of Singapore that was held in May 2011. The exercise is part of the UN’s on-going review of the state of politics among its member states.
Among some of the calls made to the PAP Government included the lifting on the ban of peaceful public assemblies, the cessation of the use of defamation laws to stifle free speech, and the abolition of laws that curtail freedom of association. Several countries including Canada, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom made the proposals.
Calls were also made for the Singapore Government to review its laws on mandatory death penalty.
Below are excerpts of the report making recommendations for civil liberties to be respected in Singapore:
99. The following recommendations did not enjoy the support of Singapore as Singapore considers that they are based on incorrect assumptions or premises:
99.1. Review the de facto ban on peaceful public demonstrations, the use of anti-defamation laws; and the registration process for civil society and associations, to ensure that such laws, as adopted and enforced, are consistent with international human rights guarantees of the rights to freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom of association (Canada);
99.2. Abolish the defamation law and ensure protection and promotion of the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly and association through legislative reform and policy changes (Czech Republic);
99.3. Abolish the penal law on defamation and ensure, through legislative reform and political change, that freedom of expression, as well as freedom of association and peaceful assembly are guaranteed to all inhabitants, citizens or not, of the country (Switzerland);
99.4. Implement the 18 recommendations made by the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute in its 2008 report “Prosperity Versus Individual Rights” (United Kingdom);
99.5. Prohibit corporal punishment and put in place an educational system respectful of the physical and psychological integrity of minors (Switzerland);
99.6. Fully incorporate the principles and provisions of CRC into the domestic legal system, especially those regarding corporal punishment (Poland);
Click here to read the full report. Then go to ‘Outcome of the Review’ and click on Report of the Working Group ‘E’.