U.S. Statement at the Universal Periodic Review of Singapore

UPR 24th Session,
Geneva, January 27, 2016
As delivered by Ambassador Keith Harper,
U.S. Ambassador to the Human Rights Council

The United States warmly welcomes the Singaporean delegation to the UPR Working Group.

We are encouraged by the entry-into-force of the Prevention of Human Trafficking Act.  We urge the government to use it to prosecute offenders and to assist those who remain vulnerable to sex trafficking and forced labor.

We commend Singapore for its efforts to promote social inclusion of members of ethnic and religious groups‎; however we are concerned about respect for individuals’ civil and political rights in Singapore, including those of LGBTI persons.

While we welcome the increase in open debate surrounding the 2015 election, we remain troubled by restrictions on freedom of expression, including government intimidation of journalists and bloggers and censorship of online and print media.  We are also concerned by the inability of members of opposition political parties to fully participate in the political process.

We recommend that Singapore:

  1. End the practice of using defamation lawsuits and other legal and administrative actions to censor, fine, and imprison individuals for speaking or writing on political issues, and remove all discriminatory media guidelines.
  2. Establish an independent electoral commission with a mandate to determine constituency boundaries and monitor election fundraising and campaigning.
  3. Repeal the anti-sodomy law, which criminalizes the private consensual conduct of gay men.
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