Margaret John, Coordinator for Singapore and Malaysia


Sixty years ago,in the wake of the horrendous cruelty committed during the Second World War, the world was determined to end human rights violations. In 1948, on December 10, the first global treaty on human rights — the Universal Declaration of Human Rights — was signed at the United Nations. Canadians are particularly proud that Canadian Law Professor John Humphrey was involved in drawing up that historic document. Yet today, that Declaration is violated in many countries, as we see from our daily media reports. Singapore and Malaysia are among the violators.

But while abuses continue, the human rights community is growing everywhere. And we know well that courageous human rights defenders such as Dr Chee Soon Juan in Singapore and Dr Anwar Ibrahim in Malaysia — both former prisoners of conscience — will not give up the struggle for fundamental rights. The best way we can mark December 10 is, of course, by taking action to support them.

I am asking therefore that you write a brief letter to their governments, urging a change in direction. Please see below.

I f you would like to join AI Canada’s Human Rights Write-a-Thon focus on several other countries (part of AI’s worldwide campaign to mark December 10), please go to

Margaret John

Coordinator for Singapore and Malaysia



To: Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong

Urge that the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of human rights be marked in a special way:

– by joining the majority of countries that have abolished the death penalty in law or in practice. Refer to Amnesty International’s belief that Singapore has one of the highest per capita rates of execution anywhere in the world, and to the UN’s 2007 resolution calling for a moratorium on executions leading to the eventual abolition of the death penalty;

– by ending the use of defamation and other lawsuits against critics, particularly Dr Chee Soon Juan, some of whom have been sentenced to prison terms and made bankrupt, thus excluding them from contesting parliamentary elections.

TO: Prime MInister Lee Hsien Loong Salutation: Dear Prime Minister

Istana, Orchard Road

Singapore 238823

Fax: +65 6332 8983

Email: [email protected]

cc. His Excellency Vanu Gopala Menon Salutation: Your Excellency

Permanent Representative of the Republic of Singapore to the UN

and High Commissioner to Canada

231 East 51st Street

New York, NY 10022



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