Singapore’s third Universal Periodic Review (UPR) took place on 12 May 2021.
Singapore’s delegation to the review, led by Ambassador-at-Large Professor Chan Heng Chee, explained the unique national context and realities faced by Singapore, as a small, racially and religiously diverse island city-State, which underlie Singapore’s pragmatic approach towards promoting and protecting human rights. The delegation also spoke about the impact of COVID-19 on Singapore and our inclusive human-centered response. In addition, the delegation briefed UN member states on the policies that Singapore had implemented since the last UPR in 2016 to advance the well-being of our citizens and achieve a more inclusive, cohesive and resilient society such as increasing access to quality and affordable preschools, increasing support for persons with disabilities, enacting the Vulnerable Adults Act, and building trust and understanding between our various communities.
140 States spoke at the UPR. Numerous States across all regional groupings commended Singapore’s social-economic policies to improve care for children and youth, older persons, and persons with disability, and enhance the right to education, the protection of women’s rights, racial and religious harmony, and accessibility of healthcare services. They also acknowledged Singapore’s COVID-19 response, in particular, Singapore’s measures to protect vulnerable groups and ensure the well-being of migrant workers. In addition, they welcomed Singapore’s ratification of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
Some States recommended that Singapore abolish the death penalty, corporal punishment, and section 377A of the Penal Code, as well as continue to combat human trafficking. Several States also called on Singapore to accede to more human rights treaties. Some States also recommended that Singapore do more to ensure the right to freedom of expression and assembly. The delegation explained the unique circumstances under which Singapore’s policies operate as well as the rationale of our policies on these issues. The delegation also highlighted that the freedom of expression and of assembly are fundamental liberties guaranteed under the Singapore Constitution, and reaffirmed Singapore’s commitment to free and responsible speech.
Singapore remains committed to the UPR process, which is an opportunity to take stock of our progress and engage with other States on issues regardless of any differences in approaches as there is no one-size-fits-all approach to the realisation of human rights. We will examine the recommendations received, in consultation with relevant stakeholders, and consider how they can be implemented and best contribute to the promotion and protection of human rights in Singapore.
Singapore’s delegation to the UPR comprised officials from 12 Government ministries and agencies. The review took place in hybrid format. Singapore’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Office in Geneva Ambassador Umej Bhatia and officials from the Singapore Permanent Mission to the United Nations at Geneva represented Singapore in-person, while officials based in Singapore participated virtually. The webcast of the full proceedings of Singapore’s UPR will be uploaded on the UN Web TV website. (The transcript of Ambassador Chan’s opening remarks is attached (211.80KB).)
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MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
12 MAY 2021
Photo Caption: Head of Delegation Ambassador-at-Large Professor Chan Heng Chee and Muis Director (Education & Student Development) Ms Sharifah Farah Binte Syed Mahamood Aljunied at Singapore’s 3rd Universal Periodic Review.
Photo Credit: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Singapore