Saturday 18 August 2012

S'pore disturbed by "double standards" shown in US human rights report

By Imelda Saad, Channel NewsAsia, 16 Aug 2012

Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has issued a strongly worded statement rebutting the US State Department's 'Human Rights Practices 2011' report.

MFA said it is disappointed that the report again includes the "same gross inaccuracies and misrepresentations of the Singapore Government's policies".

It added it is "disturbed by the double standards" applied to the US' criticism of the Internal Security Act (ISA), which is meant to address threats to internal security, including threats to public order, communal and religious harmony, and subversive and terrorist activities.

MFA said: "The US, in its own fight against terrorism, has come to realise that trade-offs between rights are inevitable. In this context, we fail to understand how the US reconciles its criticism of the ISA with the continued existence of its own detention facilities at Guantanamo without applying a double standard. By contrast to the Guantanamo detention facilities, which exist outside the framework of US law, the ISA provides a proper legal framework and prescribes rules for preventive detention."

It added as the same misrepresentations and inaccuracies are repeated year after year, it does not appear that the US State Department has paid any attention to the points repeatedly made in response to past years' country reports.

MFA said: "This seems to suggest that the US Department of State is really not interested in the facts, and indeed does not want the facts to come in the way of the conclusions it wishes to reach, pursuant to its own ideology. This approach undermines the objectivity of the report."

It added: "Singapore does not claim that our system is perfect, or that our system would necessarily work in other countries. Our government is held accountable to the public through democratic elections and the rule of law. We will adapt our policies in the interests of our people and as the balance of rights and obligations evolve in our society."

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