UPR: Universal Periodic Review

Civic freedoms must be upheld at Singapore UPR

Today, on the day Singapore is due to adopt outcomes from Singapore’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR), Access Now joined five organizations calling on the government to end undue restrictions on fundamental freedoms.

This joint statement followed a UN Human Rights Council side event co-organized on 29 September by Access Now, Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, Human Rights Watch, International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), and Think Centre during the 48th session of the UN Human Rights Council. 

In both the statement and side event, the groups highlighted continuing illegitimate and overbroad restrictions on civic space within Singapore through restrictive laws. These include: civil and criminal defamation provisions; the Protection Against Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA); and the Public Order Act and the Administration of Justice (Protection) Act. Most recently, on September 13, the government introduced the Foreign Interference (Countermeasures) Bill (FICA) — which is likely to worsen censorship both online and off.

On October 15, 2020, through a submission to the UN Human Rights Council for the third UPR of Singapore, Access Now highlighted that the rights to freedom of expression, access to information and privacy are prominent issues in the review, and provided recommendations towards strengthening these rights in Singapore.