Deportation of civil society activists: Singapore government urged to respect rights
14 September 2006 6:00 pm
FORUM-ASIA strongly condemns the actions of the Singapore government in deporting a number of civil society activists when they arrived in the country earlier this week. About 30 activists were deported from Singapore when they attempted to enter the country to participate in activities related to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank meetings.FORUM-ASIA strongly condemns the actions of the Singapore government in deporting a number of civil society activists when they arrived in the country earlier this week. About 30 activists have been deported from Singapore when they attempted to enter the country to participate in activities related to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank meetings.
Three representatives from civil society organisations who are known to have been deported so far are:
- Chona Leah Ramos, Jubilee South
- Bobbie Diciembre, Freedom from Debt Coalition
- Wilfred D’Costa, Indian Social Action Forum
The deportations were all preceded by detentions and searches of their belongings, which is harassment of these activists. We have also received reports that another activist, Filomeno Sta Ana of Action for Economic Reforms, was detained for four hours at the airport before being released and allowed to enter the country.
Reports from the ground in Singapore indicate that these activists have usually had their cellphones confiscated, are not allowed to contact anyone, are put in holding cells, have their baggage ransacked, and are not provided any food or water. They are also not given any reasons for being held, but are just told that they will not be allowed entry. Those who had visas have had them cancelled by the Singaporean authorities. In addition, they have no access to the consuls or embassies of their own countries.
We also condemn the Singaporean government’s blacklisting of about 28 activists who have been accredited by the IMF and World Bank to engage them during their joint meetings in Singapore.
By these actions, the Singapore government has once again shown its basic disrespect for international human rights standards. These are direct violations of basic human rights and international standards of freedom of expression, assembly and association – freedoms which are ironically also enshrined in Article 14 of Singapore’s own Constitution.
The Singaporean government have also ignored appeals from IMF and World Bank officials, as well as the Presidency of the European Union, to allow all activists they invited to attend this month’s meetings, which will culminate in the annual meeting of board of directors on 19-20 September.
FORUM-ASIA strongly urges the Singaporean government to stop detaining, deporting and blacklisting representatives from civil society organisations, to respect international human rights standards, and to apply the principles in Article 14 on freedom of expression, assembly and association of the Singapore Constitution.
For more information, please contact Roderick Chia (+66 (0)2 391 8801 / email@example.com).