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Singapore's excuses to Universal Periodic Review 2011 for continuing gay discrimination

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Published on May 8, 2011

Singapore went through its first Universal Periodic Review (UPR), the only universal mechanism that reviews the human rights situation in all 192 UN member states once every 4 years, on 6 May 2011.
Singapore was queried by several developed nations about her continuing criminalisation of male gay sex under Section 377A of the Penal Code.
The Singaporean representative tried to whitewash the discrimination against gay men in the city-state by saying that the law only criminalised homosexual sex but not homosexuals themselves and that it was not "proactively enforced".
Complete transcript:
"Let me now turn to the issues related to sexual orientation raised by France and the UK, and in advance by Canada, Ireland and The Netherlands. My delegation is aware that sexual orientation is also a controversial issue in UN bodies including the present one.
In Singapore, people are free to pursue their interests and lifestyles. Recognition and success is based on merit and not on factors such as sexual orientation.
In the area of employment, the Tripartite Allicance for Fair Employment Practices promotes and educates employers and the general public on fair and responsible employment practices.
Our legislation also allows those who feel that they have been unfairly dismissed, including on grounds of sexual orientation, to appeal to the Minister for Manpower to be reinstated.
Yet, we recognise that much of Singapore society remains conservative. Social mores and mindsets cannot be changed by legislation alone.
In recent times, we had robust parliamentary debates in Singapore on whether to decriminalise certain homosexual acts. On this, let me assure the UK and clarify in particular that what is being criminalised is not gay Singaporeans but homosexual acts between men.
Now, an extensive public consultation was held and the matter was considered at the highest political levels. It was not taken lightly and in the end it was decided to leave things be.
The Singapore police have not been proactively enforcing the provision and will continue to take this stance.
To answer the delegate from Canada, this means that no action is taken against consenting adult males who may have relations unless their conduct breaks other laws, for instance, laws against indecent public behaviour or paedophilia.
The reality is that LGBT people in Singapore do not have to hide their sexual orientation for fear of losing their jobs or for fear of prosecution by the state. They have a place in our society and are entitled to their private lives."
See also:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bGLBV...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EgAPg...
Links:
http://the-singapore-lgbt-encyclopaed...
United Nations Webcast:
http://www.un.org/webcast
Archive of Channel News Asia article:
http://sporelgbtpedia.shoutwiki.com/w...
Human rights lawyer George Hwang's article on Fridae:
http://www.fridae.com/newsfeatures/20...

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