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Thursday, 20 February 2020

Singapore's submission for UN OHCHR ICCPR General Comment No. 37 Article 21 Right Of Peaceful Assembly

Dear Human Rights Defenders,

The Singapore government refused to sign the ICCPR until today, as such, we do not have our fundamental rights to civil and political participation being protected.​
I, Han Hui Hui, am being disqualified from standing for parliamentary election in Singapore too:​
https://www.fidh.org/en/region/asia/singapore/drop-charges-against-three-peaceful-protestors​

I understand that there must be numerous submissions and criticism, but I would like to highlight the three top most concerns with regards to the situation in Singapore.​

FIRST
Paragraph 4 of the draft general comment mentioned "The right of peaceful assembly protects the nonviolent gathering of persons with a common expressive purpose" however, the definition of "common expressive purpose" is vague and the Singapore government has already abused their power to physically assault Singaporeans:​
https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/blogger-hrd-han-hui-hui-manhandled-and-forcibly-removed-parliamentary-hearing​

In fact, according to Singapore law, "a demonstration by a person alone" can be considered illegal:​
https://sso.agc.gov.sg/Act/POA2009​

SECOND
Paragraph 38 of the draft general comment mentioned "refrain from unduly blocking Internet connectivity" however, the Singapore government has tried to "refrain" by the use of other methods of restrictions, such as suing Singaporeans for the act of sharing URL on social media:​
https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/leong-sze-hian-pm-lee-hsien-long-defamation-suit-lim-tean-11949340​

In fact, the Singapore government has already went the extreme to demand Facebook to block certain URLs in Singapore:​
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-singapore-facebook/facebook-says-deeply-concerned-about-singapores-order-to-block-page-idUSKBN20D0AD​

THIRD
Paragraph 42 of the draft general comment mentioned "Blanket restrictions on participation in peaceful assembly" since it's only on "participation", the Singapore government can make use of it and have a blanket restriction on organisers instead.​

In fact, the Singapore government has published numerous statements and news articles to have blanket restrictions on individuals:​
https://www.nparks.gov.sg/news/2014/10/media-statements-on-hong-lim-park​

The Singapore government refuse to sign the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as well as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.​

As a young Singaporean mother in Singapore, I'm extremely concerned about the future of my children especially in housing, healthcare and fundamental human rights for retirement etc.​

Please feel free to forward these information to whoever you think will benefit from it, and please let me know if you need more information.​

I'm thankful for the meeting in Thailand with Rapporteur Christof Heyns and hope the oral submissions are all put into consideration too.​

Regards,​
Han Hui Hui