MARUAH, a human rights NGO, is a partner with Function 8, in particular for the June 2nd 2012 event to mark the 25th Anniversary of the alleged Marxist Conspiracy. MARUAH’s position is that it is timely for a Commission of Inquiry to be set up to review the detentions under Operation Spectrum
As part of this collaborative effort MARUAH was informed of the letters that the Archbishop had sent to Function 8 and we are aware of the contents. The letters reflect diverse views on key content areas in relation to preventive detention without trial. Both organisations made a decision not to publicise the letter(s) till we sought clarifications from Ministry of Home Affairs and other relevant parties. This decision was taken as we feel it is a better way forward as both organisations are mindful of the previous pain within the Catholic community over what happened in 1987 where the Church, the government, the detainees and the community were involved. We agreed that after these approaches to reach out for dialogues had been tried and tested we would review this incident of the letters. It is unfortunate that the matter of the letters was leaked to the media before we could receive clarifications from the relevant bodies. Both organisations had wanted to focus on seeking a dialogue rather than dealing with the Archbishop’s letters a public manner through the media.
Having said that, MARUAH has to state that we are deeply disappointed with the remarks of the Archbishop in his response to the media queries. An opportunity to understand the change in the position of the Archbishop vis-a-vis preventive detention without trial was missed. We are still clueless as to whether there was intervention by the State in this matter and if so, on what grounds and to what extent. Instead civil society has been vilified in the Archbishop’s remarks which are the opposite of our intentions to preserve harmony by seeking clarifications.
Nevertheless, it is more important to move forward. We are keen to have dialogue with the Ministry of Home Affairs on our ongoing efforts at public education and advocacy on preventive detentions without trial. We will also be very happy to meet the Archbishop in relation to this matter.
MARUAH is a group of individuals from diverse backgrounds, who made a commitment to the process of facilitating the establishment of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission for Human Rights and are now continuing to work on human rights issues at both domestic and regional levels.
MARUAH means Dignity in Malay, Singapore’s national language. Human rights is all about maintaining, restoring and reclaiming one’s dignity at the individual, regional and international level.
MARUAH is the Singapore focal point for the Working Group for an ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism, a regional group with its secretariat based in Manila. The regional Working Group has national representatives from all of the founding Member States of ASEAN, namely Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. The regional Working Group is an NGO officially recognized in the ASEAN Charter as a stakeholder in ASEAN.
More information on MARUAH can be found at www.maruah.org