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People Like Us has sent a submission to the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN OHCHR), in relation to the upcoming review of Singapore’s human rights record in May 2011. The five-page paper focusses on six priority areas where the human rights of LGBT persons are compromised: criminal law, censorship, freedom of association, the sex notation on the national identity card, discrimination in employment and the lack of legal recognition for same-sex relationships.
A copy of the submission (in PDF format) can be downloaded from this site. Click here.
This is part of a process known as Universal Periodic Review (UPR), established by the United Nations in 2006, which at the same time, also set up the Human Rights Council (HRC).
Continue reading ‘PLU makes submission for Singapore’s UPR 2011′
The repeal of Section 377A of the Penal Code turned out to be the leading issue of concern to LGBT citizens. Respondents had been asked to name their top three issues from among twelve (four LGBT-related and eight non-LGBT-related), and 48.5 percent of them included repeal among their top three concerns.
In second place was legal recognition of same-sex relationships. 42.2 percent of respondents included this matter within their top three. In third place was job discrimination against LGBT persons with 38.5 percent naming this as among their top three concerns.
The leading non-LGBT-related issue was economic growth and job creation. 32.2 percent pointed to this as among their chief concerns.
The poll was conducted over the internet from 7 September to 12 October 2010 (five weeks). Widely advertised by gay portals Fridae.com and Trevvy.com, and through other channels such as Facebook, queer women’s group Sayoni, and the SiGNeL email list, it attracted a total of 1156 responses.
On the prosecution of Mr Tan Eng Hong under Section 377A and the challenge to the law’s constitutionalityPublished by webmaster September 27th, 2010 in 2010 posts.
On 24 September 2010, Mr M Ravi, a lawyer acting for Mr Tan Eng Hong, initiated a constitutional challenge to Section 377A of the Penal Code. This is the law that makes “gross indecency” between two men a crime in Singapore, punishable with up to two years’ imprisonment.
Mr Tan had been charged under Section 377A in connection with an alleged incident of sex in a shopping centre toilet.
People Like Us is not a party to this case and the associated constitutional challenge that Mr Ravi initiated. Moreover, as the matter is now before the courts, it is not appropriate for us to make any comments about the specifics of the case.
Do lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender voters have exactly the same concerns as the general public? Are there concerns that are important to the community, yet are neglected by political parties vying for votes?
A general election is widely expected in Singapore sometime in the next 6 - 12 months. LGBT citizens will have as much a chance to express their wishes through their vote as other citizens.
A cursory glance at various media will indicate that leading issues currently include the economy, housing prices and polices, transport, foreign workers and immigration. These tend to hog the headlines because many people have anxieties or strong views about them.
There is, however, the risk that these issues, because of their wide following, are crowding out the concerns of other sections of the population. There is always the tendency for the non-LGBT majority to universalise their concerns as everybody’s concerns, and to dismiss issues unimportant to them as issues unimportant to everybody. Throughout history, it is a common conceit of the privileged or the majority.
What People Like Us would like to know is to what extent Singaporean LGBT voters share these aforementioned concerns, as well as what other concerns relevant to their lives they might have. What are their priorities going into this election?
We encourage all Singaporean LGBT voters and friends to participate in a survey: What concerns LGBT voters? It’s an online, anonymous survey, to gauge the community’s priorities. It consists of only 10 questions and should take no more than 3 -4 minutes of your time.
The survey will be kept open till at least 10 October 2010.
We recognise that no online poll can be rigourously accurate. Nonetheless, we are hoping that with wide participation, the thrust of the LGBT community’s concerns will be apparent even if the exact figures should be treated with caution.
Results will be publicised on this site and shared with other LGBT and mainstream media, after we have done an analysis.
To go to the survey: Link.
The second Rascals Prize is scheduled for award next year. This S$2,000 prize is for the best research work related to LGBT issues and Singapore. The call for submissions was announced at the launch of this year’s Indignation - Singapore’s Pride Season - on 1 August 2010.
The entry can be in any one of three forms:
- a written research paper (max 10,000 words)
- a documentary film (max 60 minutes)
- a audio programme (max 60 minutes)
All entries must reach the organisers by 31 January 2011, and the winner will be announced in August 2011.
The independent jury comprises four academics:
a) Dr Brian Bergen-Aurand, Assistant Professor, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University.
b) Dr Terence Chong King Shan, Senior Fellow, Coordinator of Regional Social and Cultural Studies Programme, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.
c) Dr Lai Ah Eng, Senior Research Fellow, Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore.
d) Dr Lo Mun Hou, Assistant Professor, University Scholars Programme, National University of Singapore.
For more details, download this pdf file.