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Edited Transcript of Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Vivian Balakrishnan's Oral Replies to Parliamentary and Supplementary Questions on the Extent of Consular Support for Singaporeans Who Are Arrested or Charged with Offences Abroad

04 February 2020

QUESTION

 

Mr Leon Perera: To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs what considerations are used to determine if and to what extent consular support is provided to Singaporeans abroad who are arrested or charged with offences when the Ministry is informed of the incident by the individual concerned, by his or her next-of-kin or by other Government agencies.

 

 

REPLY:

 

1        The safety of Singaporeans who are travelling overseas is always the paramount concern of the MFA.

 

2        We constantly remind Singaporeans who are visiting, working or living overseas that they have to abide by the local laws. If a Singaporean is arrested or detained, we ensure that our citizens are accorded due process under those local laws. Hence, the extent and the nature of our consular assistance is determined by the unique circumstances of each case and, of course, by the bilateral and international obligations of the host country. Above all else, the entire process has to be in accordance with the local laws and regulations.

 

3        Once MFA is notified that a Singaporean has been arrested or detained overseas, we will quickly get in touch with the next-of-kin. We will also contact the local authorities to ascertain the basic facts of the case. We will request for consular access to the Singaporean and we will facilitate visits by the next-of-kin. But, again, and I need to emphasise this, all this is subject to the approval of the local authorities.

 

4        MFA will also continue to seek updates from the local authorities on the progress of the case and we will remain in contact with his next-of-kin and family members in order to provide consular assistance.

 

 

SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTION

 

Question 1

 

Mr Leon Perera: I thank the Minister for his reply. Just to confirm, so, if there is a request made to MFA from the next-of-kin or from the person who is incarcerated, and if it is permitted, if it does not contravene local laws, can we assume that MFA would generally extend some kind of consular assistance to every such request?

 

REPLY:

 

1        A simple answer, yes.

 

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MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

SINGAPORE

4 February 2020

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