Singapore’s stance at UPR is a disturbing indication of its unwillingness to work with international human rights processes.

This is the following oral statement delivered by Sayoni in person at the 32nd regular session of the UN Human Rights Council.

Mr Vice President, Forum Asia, ASEAN SOGIE Caucus, ALMOS and Sayoni makes this statement on behalf of the LGBT community in Singapore.

We are alarmed that Singapore has rejected nearly half of the 236 recommendations it received. This negative precedence for the UPR is a disturbing indication of the country’s unwillingness to work with international human rights processes.

Those rejected include key recommendations on freedom of expression, assembly and association. Existing legal restrictions on these rights far exceed what is permissible under international human rights law. We call on the state to review all laws and policies that impose undue restrictions.

We regret that Singapore has merely noted recommendations on censorship of LGBT content in the media and the continued criminalization of sex between consenting men under Section 377A.
Despite reassurances that 377A is not proactively enforced, the state appears to conveniently ignore the cascading and intersectional effects of this law that encourages discrimination.

The claim that LGBT media content is allowed as long as guidelines are followed, is a fallacy. Guidelines prevent all positive or neutral portrayals of LGBT persons, even when it includes comments on TV related to history and social change in other countries. In reality on stigmatization of LGBT people is permitted.

Although the state has been quick to cite the annual pride event Pink Dot, as evidence of tolerance and inclusiveness, on 7 June 2016, the Ministry of Home Affairs announced restrictions on foreign sponsorship for the event.

We welcome the 14 June 2016 statement by the Minister of Home Affairs and Law that everyone will be protected against violence regardless of sexual orientation, we note that this would remain as lip service as long as the state retains laws tha promote violence and discrimination against LGBT people.Section 377A and stigmatization through censorship makes LGBT people reluctant to report violence and discrimination against them.

We call on the government to take concrete steps to decriminalize and remove all policies and laws that discriminate against LGBT persons living in Singapore.

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