The Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued the following response to the US Department of State in relation to the latter’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices 2011:
- We have studied the US Department of State’s country report on human rights practices in Singapore, and note with disappointment that it again includes the same gross inaccuracies and misrepresentations of the Singapore Government’s policies that we have rebutted in detail year after year.
- We are disturbed by the double standards applied to the US’ criticism of our Internal Security Act (ISA), which is meant to address threats to internal security, including threats to public order, communal and religious harmony, and subversive and terrorist activities. The US, in its own fight against terrorism, has come to realise that trade-offs between rights are inevitable. In this context we fail to understand how the US reconciles its criticism of the ISA with the continued existence of its own detention facilities at Guantanamo without applying a double standard. By contrast to the Guantanamo detention facilities, which exist outside the framework of US law, the ISA provides a proper legal framework, and prescribes rules, for preventive detention.
- As the same misrepresentations and inaccuracies are repeated year after year, it does not appear that the US Department of State has paid any attention to the points that we have repeatedly made in response to past years’ country reports. This seems to suggest that the US Department of State is really not interested in the facts, and indeed does not want the facts to come in the way of the conclusions it wishes to reach, pursuant to its own ideology. This approach undermines the objectivity of the report.
- Singapore does not claim that our system is perfect, or that our system would necessarily work in other countries. Our government is held accountable to the public through democratic elections and the rule of law. We will adapt our policies in the interests of our people and as the balance of rights and obligations evolve in our society.
. . . . .
MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
16 AUGUST 2012