My statement concerns Mr Forst’s latest report to the Council, A/HRC/37/51, on the situation of human rights defenders.
In his report, Mr Forst inaccurately and misleadingly cited Singapore’s Public Order Act as an example where the ability of people on the move to protest through free expression, association and peaceful assembly is restricted.
We are disappointed and regret this inaccurate and irresponsible portrayal of our Public Order Act, as we had comprehensively explained the Act in our previous communication with Mr Forst in September 2017.
We will submit a more detailed response to the report to the Secretariat. But allow me to briefly explain our Public Order Act.
There are two major parts to the Public Order (Amendment) Act 2017. The first is to protect the Singaporean public from terror attacks or other public order incidents by putting in place adequate security measures.
The second part reinforces a longstanding Singapore government position to prevent Singapore from being used as a platform by foreigners and foreign entities to further their own political causes, and from interfering in our domestic issues, including on controversial social issues with political overtones.
Non-citizens can apply for a permit if they wish to participate in other events at the Speakers’ Corner.
My delegation attaches importance to the work of the Council’s Special Procedures, and when relevant we too have benefitted from their advice and expertise.
But we hope that Special Procedures mandate holders can also act responsibly and present facts accurately or risk their own credibility and negate trust in them.
Thank you Mr President.
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