The Community Action Network and Think Centre are deeply concerned about the deteriorating health of Amos Yee. We understand Yee has not been eating for several days and was sent to the hospital last evening. He was subsequently re-admitted to the Institute of Mental Health‘s remand ward.
Singapore’s persecution of 16-year-old Yee is deeply disturbing. In charging and trying him as an adult, the country has failed to fulfil in practice, its commitments under the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
We note that Singapore, having been a State party to the treaty since 5 October 1995, has violated Articles 3(1), 19, 20(1), 37(b)(c)(d) and 40(1).
Further, under Article 16, Singapore has to protect Amos Yee and his family from arbitrary attacks on their honour and reputation. It is disappointing that such protection has not been afforded in any meaningful way.
We understand that Yee is being held in Block 7 of the Institute of Mental Health, along with inmates who are deemed to be criminally insane. It is shocking that a child who is merely undergoing assessment for autism should be confined in such a ward. Yee’s refusal to eat could well be borne out of fear and desperation.
Finally, we wish to highlight that Article 11(1) of the Constitution of Singapore declares that no person shall suffer greater punishment for an offence than was prescribed by law at the time it was committed. In view of Yee’s extended period of remand, his young age, and the way he has been treated even before sentence has been passed, we are of the opinion that he has been excessively punished. We urge the Government to release him with immediate effect.