Advocacy group SG Human Rights, formed in 2007, has announced that it is disbanding. The following is its statement posted on its website.

We are “disbanding” but no, we are not giving up our fight for human rights.

SG Human Rights (SGHR) is not an association, society, company or any organisation of sorts. We’re simply a motley crew of individuals without political clout, organisational affiliations or government funding, who believe in human rights – the universal values of what it takes to have a just, equal and inclusive society with the essential compassion and respect we should accord to one another. These include civil and political rights as well as other fundamental freedoms.

Fundamental freedoms are not formalised nor conferred; they are exercised. We were, and are, exercising our rights in line with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Art. 19 & 20) and the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore (Art. 14), to get together and express our opinions and concerns. For some of us, activism is not new, having already been involved in other efforts or campaigns on various issues before banding as SGHR. For others, we were already on a journey leading to activism and actively searching for an avenue or platform that would suit us.

We came together under this banner because we were strongly motivated to respond to landmark events in the region for 2007: the Saffron Revolution in Burma (cognizant of Singapore’s link and influence to Burma and in solidarity with the Burmese community in Singapore) and the signing of the ASEAN Charter in November which included a provision for the formation of a regional human rights body (Art. 14).

We worked as a collective through dialogue and consensus with no committee, management structure or leader. There are only 9 of us – not quite the required minimum number of ‘members’ to register as a society. This is a strategic choice as by consensus, it is not our intention to become a society or any other formally constituted organisation which, for some of us, is a direct protest to the existing Societies Act.

In our view, civil society space in Singapore should not be sectioned, quartered and restricted to participation through formal groups or organisations which is more likely to result in closed-door diplomacy that the common man has no access to. There is space and need for self-organised or autonomous initiatives; for different lines of actions to be taken and our preference is for direct action.

We acknowledge that although we gave a voice from the ground of informed and interested citizens, we are not representative and nor should we aim for such representation. Instead, what we have learnt from this experience as SGHR, is the advantage of a small ad-hoc group, in terms of mobility, flexibility and responsiveness, in organising and executing activities over larger, hierarchical groups. We have also learnt of what it takes to struggle together and come to our understanding of each other’s interests and concerns.

Yet we believe that there are more Singaporeans out there who share similar concerns and have various capacities to share, contribute, exchange ideas and plans of actions and who are willing to get together and do something about human rights in general or on specific issues. There must be no monopoly on human rights and civil society participation. Our hope is that there are many more – a diversity of groups and individuals, big or small, ad-hoc or permanent, working on the many, many issues.

For us, after debating and discussing, we have arrived at a resolution that SG Human Rights does not belong to just the 9 of us and we are moving on. In the spirit of SG Human Rights, we advocate that any Singaporean can come together and take up the banner of “Singaporeans for Human Rights”. This is a call to action.

The 9 of us – Choon Hiong, E-Jay, Isrizal, Kai Xiong, M Ravi, Noora, Seelan, Shafiee, and Ti Lik – are saying: JOIN US. Not as members of a group because there is no such formal group as SG Human Rights, but to take part in the overall effort. Initiate your own human rights activities. Collaborate with all of us or some of us. The 9 of us will be continuing with activism, pursuing individual projects and we’ll probably still work together in different combinations and hopefully with new people like yourself. Do not just criticise others for not doing enough. We’ve gone up and done something. Have you?

Chia Ti Lik (chiatilink at hotmail dot com,
Chong Kai Xiong (w_velocity at yahoo dot com)
Ho Choon Hiong (starwars at cyberway dot com dot sg,
Isrizal (isrizal at gmail dot com)
M Ravi (mravilaw at gmail dot com)
Ng E-Jay (ngejay at sgpolitics dot net,
Noora Zul (noorazul at gmail dot com)
Seelan Palay (seelanpalay at gmail dot com,
Shafiie (redgwn at yahoo dot com)

SG Human Rights’ videos of past actions and events can still be viewed on YouTube.

Read also: Informal human rights group here disbands by the Straits Times.

Picture from Singapore Indian Voice


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
You May Also Like

专访淡马亚:点评政经时事 看好在野政党有望合作

新加坡民主党(SDP)主席淡马亚医生(Paul Ananth Tambyah),最近接受网络公民专访,对各项课题侃侃而谈,从他的从政生涯和动机、对新加坡公共医疗体系的看法、政治现金争议、党派联盟的看法、再到假新闻法案,对即将到来的来届大选所带来的影响,以及阐述他对该党未来计划和目标的期望。他指出,各替代政党合作并非不可能,但是反假新闻法案可能会成为绊脚石。 在考虑踏上从政路之前,淡马亚是一名传染病研究员和医生。虽然他的家人都非常支持他,但是当初其母亲对他的选择持有怀疑态度,淡马亚曾面对很大挑战。他的母亲以及他们那一代,受到了90年代媒体描绘民主党的影响,对徐顺全(Dr Chee)及其政党持有负面和消极的看法。 要改变一切需从政 很多人都想加入人民行动党,认为“从里面改变事物”,是“较顺畅”的道路。淡马亚曾以为,在政府和各部门举办的公共论坛上,提供反馈意见更佳。“ 但是最终,我认为我得到的结论是,这个系统有点过于根深蒂固了,很难改变。一个人试图改变整个行动党的运转,几乎是不可能的。” 淡马亚的最终目标不是成为国会议员。他踏入政治界并加入民主党,因为他希望改善新加坡的事物。他提出的其中一个例子,就是已被认为是世界最好的我国医疗保健系统。然而,许多人还是没有获得适当的医疗服务,并且最需要资源的人士也没有获得配给。 这个问题需要具有强烈意识的政党提出,而这就是民主党的用武之处,淡马亚表示,他们拥有明确的意识,视人民福利重于利润、视智慧终于财富,以及在“宣言”提及了,关于生活费用和各种其他政策。 他小说,第二任总理吴作栋,曾告诉新加坡作家林宝音(Catherine Lim):“如果你想改变一切,你必须进入政界”。…

Singapore's inability to help citizens meet basic needs is a such shame

Below is the response made by former GIC chief economist Yeoh Lam…

Rollercoaster to showcase a house on sale

[youtube id=”D2QOtnLdnLQ” align=”center” mode=”normal”] Thinking of how to showcase your house to…