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HRW condemns Singapore for decade-high executions: 16 drug-related offenders put to death

International rights group Human Rights Watch (HRW) has strongly criticized the Singaporean government for its record-breaking executions of individuals involved in drug-related offenses, marking the highest in over a decade.

The report details the alarming execution of 16 people, including Saridewi Djamani, the first woman put to death in nearly two decades, underscoring a disturbing neglect for human rights.



BANGKOK: Human Rights Watch, a non-governmental organization dedicated to upholding international human rights, has strongly criticized the Singaporean government for carried out the highest number of executions for drug-related offences in over a decade.

The organization contends that these actions were accompanied by efforts to intimidate activists advocating against the death penalty.

HRW alerted that as of November 2023, the authorities executed 16 people, including Saridewi Djamani, the first woman to be executed in the country in almost two decades.

In its recently published World Report 2024, HRW sheds light on Singapore’s suppression of dissenting voices in the run-up to the 2023 presidential elections, coupled with instances of censoring independent journalism.

“Singapore reversed the Covid-19 hiatus on executions, kicking its death row machinery into overdrive,” said Phil Robertson, HRW’s deputy Asia director.

“The government’s reinvigorated use of the death penalty merely highlighted its disregard for human rights protections and the inherent cruelty of capital punishment.”

The Singapore government faced widespread international condemnation by governments and United Nations agencies for its continued use of the death penalty for nonviolent drug-related offences.

In April, Singapore dismissed urgent calls from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and executed Tangaraju Suppia, who had been convicted for involvement in trafficking one kilogram of cannabis in 2013.

Targeting independent media outlets

HRW also highlighted that the Singapore government targeted independent media outlets with overly broad and restrictive laws that grant the authorities highly discretionary powers to censor online content.

In July, the government enacted the Online Criminal Harms Act, which threatens to further undermine freedom of expression and free speech in the country.

The authorities repeatedly harassed and targeted The Online Citizen and its chief editor, Terry Xu, for reporting critically on the government.

In April, a court fined Xu S$18,000 (US$13,268) for contempt of court.

In September, The Online Citizen moved its operations out of Singapore because of the government’s harassment via the courts.

HRW noted that the right to peaceful assembly in Singapore is tightly restricted through public order laws.

The Public Order Act requires a police permit for any “cause-related” forms of assembly in public spaces. Police in Singapore have sweeping powers to reject permit applications on political grounds.

Prominent human rights defender M. Ravi suspended from law practice for five years

HRW alerted that the authorities also cracked down on critical views by silencing human rights defenders under the guise of protecting its judicial system.

In a letter to the Singaporean government made public in January 2023, Mary Lawlor, the UN special rapporteur on human rights defenders, expressed deep concern about government suppression and intimidation against human rights defenders Kirsten Han and Rocky Howe for their advocacy opposing the death penalty in Singapore.

In March 2023, the Singaporean High Court suspended the law license of a prominent human rights defender and lawyer, Ravi Madasamy.

The court found he had undermined the integrity of the judiciary through his criticisms of the attorney general, who reinstated the death penalty for Gobi Avedian, a Malaysian whom Madasamy was representing in court.

In November, Mr Ravi was sentenced to three weeks’ imprisonment for two charges of contempt of court. Earlier, he was lauded with the 2023 IBA Award for Outstanding Contribution to Human Rights by the International Bar Association.

Despite taking a positive step in 2022 to repeal section 377A of the criminal code,the colonial-era provision criminalizing same-sex relations between men, HRW noted that Singapore has publicly rejected taking any steps toward guaranteeing marriage equality, and LGBT people in the country continue to face discrimination.

HRW’s 34th World Report 2024 exposes a Year of suppression, atrocities, and diplomatic costs

In the 740-page World Report 2024, its 34th edition, HRW reviews human rights practices in more than 100 countries.

In her introductory essay, Executive Director Tirana Hassan says that 2023 was a consequential year not only for human rights suppression and wartime atrocities but also for selective government outrage and transactional diplomacy that carried profound costs for the rights of those not in on the deal.

But she says there were also signs of hope, showing the possibility of a different path, and calls on governments to consistently uphold their human rights obligations.

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Do sporens say “BO BIAN one”?

Isn’t it the same like the plastic Issue. Just becos ppl not buying the 5cents per plastic means there is a reduce in usage of plastic. The BiG picture isn’t shown. Plastic usage totality should be the buying of plastic elsewhere included in report not just one instance of so call reduction due to sanctioning consumer for plastic. No?!?

I highly suggest to PAP Administration to resolve and prevent Money Laundering crimes much better than focus on hanging drug criminals.

The PAP Administration BS that their execution of drug criminals has brought down drug troubles. Any proof?