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Friday, 11 March 2016

Singapore | Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders

Human Rights Council
Thirty-first session

Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development

The Special Rapporteur expresses his concern at the on-going trial of Ms. Han Hui Hui and her fellow protestors on charges which appear to be solely based on their participation in peaceful protest During the trial Ms. Hui Hui has faced some difficulty in acquiring adequate legal assistance. He laments the current trend in Singapore to persecute human rights defenders, including adolescents for expressing their opinions, often through their blogs, cartoons or films. The Special Rapporteur reiterates that insults to a public figure are not sufficient grounds to justify the imposition of penalties and restrictions on the right to freedom of expression. The Special Rapporteur states that openness to all forms of criticism is necessary in an open society and in a debate on present or past public figures. Furthermore, the Special Rapporteur expresses his concern in relation to defamation lawsuits that are allegedly filed against human rights defenders for public comments. The Special Rapporteur calls on the Government to ensure that human rights defenders can carry out their legitimate activities in a safe and enabling environment without fear of harassment, stigmatisation or criminalisation of any kind. He further urges the Government of Singapore to review its defamation laws and ensure that the application is not used to arbitrarily stifle freedom of opinion and expression, and that the de facto ban on public demonstrations is lifted.

Source: http://www.ohchr.org



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