Showing posts with label Syngapore. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Syngapore. Show all posts

September 10, 2018

Singapore's LGBT Community Wants The Country To Go The Way of India's Landmark Decision

Singapore’s LGBT community wants the country to end a ban on gay sex after India scrapped the same law a few days ago. India’s landmark ruling on Thursday axed the law, which was reinstated five years ago and punishable by up to 10 years in jail. ‘Thanks to all that fought for this, braving the worst sort of prejudice. 

                             Supporters attend the annual "Pink Dot" event in a public show of support for the LGBT community at Hong Lim Park in Singapore on July 1, 2017. Thousands of Singaporeans took part in the gay-rights rally on July 1. / AFP PHOTO / Roslan RAHMAN (Photo credit should read ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

This is a good day for human rights,’ one activist said. Singapore has campaigned for some time for the gay sex law to be axed (Picture: AFP PHOTO / Roslan RAHMAN) Now, the gay community in Singapore is mounting pressure on its government to do the same. It has flooded Twitter and Facebook with messages. ‘There are many strong moral and economic arguments,’ said one woman. ‘The heterosexual community need to stop staying silent and playing dumb, and actually advocate and stand up for the rights,’ said another Facebook user. ‘It’s a horrible law that discriminates. It should really go very soon,’ wrote one man.

 Tommy Koh, ambassador-at-large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has encouraged the country’s LGBT community to put pressure on the government Tommy Koh, ambassador-at-large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Singapore, himself took to Facebook. The veteran politician wrote: ‘I would encourage our gay community to bring a class action to challenge the constitutionality of Section 377A.’ Under section 377A of Singapore’s Penal Code, a man found to have committed an act of ‘gross indecency’ with another man. 

Professor Koh was reminded on Facebook how previous attempts to end the 2014 law failed, to which he wrote ‘try again’. MORE: WORLD North Korea leaves nuclear missiles out of huge 70th military parade British man dies after emergency medical treatment on flight to Ibiza Woman, 92, left for 25 hours in hospital chair with painful kidney infection The law in Singapore does not apply to homosexual acts between women. Chief of government communications in the country Janadas Devan supported Professor Koh. ‘Speaking personally, I support Tommy’s position. 377A is a bad law; it is bad law. ‘Sooner or later, it will go. Pray sooner rather than later,’ he wrote.

March 8, 2015

Gay Singapore Blogger Gets Fine For Criticizing The Court on Gay Rights

 Alex Au Wai Pang
 A Singaporean blogger was fined S$8,000 (US$5,843) by the High Court on March 5, 2015 for writing a blog post two years ago that allegedly accused the Chief Justice of manipulating the court proceedings related to the petitions against Section 377A, the law which criminalizes sex between men.
Alex Au Wai Pang is a 62-year old writer who blogsat Yawning Bread. He is also a prominent member of Singapore's LGBT community. Alex said he will appeal the decision of the court.
The case involves an article that Alex wrote entitled“377 wheels come off Supreme Court’s best laid plans”, which discussed the “strange calendaring” of petitions challenging Section 377A in the High Court. Prosecutors said the article “unfairly suggested that the Chief Justice had acted impartially” and therefore it “risked undermining public confidence in the administration of justice in Singapore”. The court agreed with the prosecution and ruled that the article “crossed the legal boundary and constitute scandalizing contempt”.
Alex and his lawyers argued through their written submissions to the court that the article did not violate any law:
The [government] has had to twist Mr Au’s words out of context and to editorialize to impute sinister innuendo into his article where none exists. In so doing, [it] has mischievously ignored the caveats in Mr Au’s article that clearly flag out to his readers that he is theorizing, as opposed to making statements of fact.
Many criticized the decision of the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) to charge Alex. A statement signed by 170 people in December 2013 described the case as a threat to free speech:
The AGC’s action, rather than enhancing confidence in the judiciary, might weaken public confidence. It also implies that the public is not allowed to form opinions on judicial processes.
But the AGC reminded them that free speech is not absolute:
As important as the right to free speech and expression is, the Constitution recognizes that our society as a whole must be safeguarded against statements without basis which injure the reputation of persons or lower confidence in the administration of justice.
The case of Alex is cited by various political groups as the latest manifestation of the systematic harassment suffered by activists and critics of the government. Reacting to the court decision, the Reform Party urged the public to be vigilant about their rights:
Alex Au has already declared his intention to file an appeal. People we have to unite and fight to keep our rights, those few that we have left, if we are not to lose them for ever.
Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch, advised Singapore to repeal the archaic law of “scandalizing the judiciary.” He also frowned upon the court decision to convict Alex:
Singapore’s courts, like any other public institution, are strengthened, not weakened, by open debate on issues of general concern. The prosecution of Alex Au for speaking out is just one more example of Singapore’s willingness to misuse law to gag its critics.
The issue should embolden Singaporeans to step up the pressure in demanding the abrogation of two colonial-era laws: Section 377A and the crime of “scandalizing the judiciary.” It should also inspire activists and other concerned citizens to broaden the campaign for greater media freedom and stronger protection of human rights.

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