15 May 2014
Alleged vandals should be treated in accordance with UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
We, the undersigned, wish to raise our concern regarding the treatment rendered by members of the broadcast and print media and the District Court towards the five teenagers (aged 17) arrested on 10 May 2014 for their alleged involvement in a case of vandalism in Toa Payoh on 7 May 2014. As a signatory of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Singapore is obligated to fulfil the commitments set in the CRC which are all aimed at achieving its noble purpose of protecting the rights and welfare of all children.
According to Article 16 of the CRC, “No child shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy, family, or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his or her honour and reputation”.
Under Article 40(1), parties to the Convention, “recognize the right of every child alleged as, accused of, or recognized as having infringed the penal law to be treated in a manner consistent with the promotion of the child’s sense of dignity and worth, which reinforces the child’s respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of others and which takes into account the child’s age and the desirability of promoting the child’s reintegration and the child’s assuming a constructive role in society”.
Article 40(2)(b)(vii) further states that privacy of the child must be guaranteed and respected at all stages of the proceedings.
Although Article 1 of the CRC defines a child as an individual who is below the age of 18, Singapore’s Children and Young Persons Act (CYPA) only provides protections for individuals below the age of 16.
Therefore, the actions of the broadcast and print media in revealing the identities of the five accused aged 17, run counter to the spirit and intent of the CRC, particularly Articles 16, 40(1), and 40(2)(vii).
In addition, a request made by one of the teenagers to inform his parents about his arrest was denied by the judge at the first mention of his case in court. This denial of assistance by the district judge is a violation of Article 16 of the CRC; however, since the CYPA does not cover individuals 16 years and above, the judge had acted within the boundaries of our laws.
We, the undersigned, believe that Singapore’s laws, and especially the CYPA in the area of children’s rights, should be aligned with the provisions of the CRC. This is to ensure that individuals below the age of 18 are duly protected in accordance with international human rights norms.
Further, we note that the five accused teenagers have yet to be proven guilty in a court of law. As such, we urge the Attorney General to look into possible violations of the CRC by members of Singapore’s print and broadcast media as well as provide adequate protection for these teenagers, adhering fully to the spirit of the CRC.
We also urge the Attorney General and the Singapore Police Force to grant the accused five immediate communications with their families as well as access to immediate and adequate legal representation.
|Amy Lauschke||Jevon Ng||Rachel Chung|
|Adrian Gopal||Jocelyn Yeo||Rachel Zeng|
|Andrew Loh||Joe Tan||Raymond Chan|
|Ariffin Sha||Jolene Tan||Robert Yong|
|Betty Tan||Jolovan Wham||Roger Yap|
|Braema Mathi||Joshua Chiang||Roy Ngerng Yi Ling|
|Bryan Choong||Jufri Salim||Sarah Sidek|
|Chan Wai Han||Kirsten Han||Shelley Thio|
|Chng Nai Rui||Koh Eng Thiem, Ronald||Sidek Mallek|
|Chng Suan Tze||Kokila Annamalai||Siew Kum Hong|
|Chong Kai Xiong||Kumaran Pillai||Sophie Tan|
|Chong Wai Fung||Kwan Jin-Ee||Stephanie Chok|
|Clarence Lenon Dorai||KZ Arifa||Steve Chia|
|Constance Singham||Law Kah Hock||Suziana Mohd|
|Damien Chng||Lenney Leong||Sylvia Tan|
|Dana Lam||Leow Yong Fatt [Liao Yangfa]||Tan Elice|
|Dr. Paul Ananth Tambyah||Lim Han Thon||Tan Kin Lian|
|Dr. Vincent Wijeysingha||Lim Jialiang||Tan Simin|
|Dr. Wong Wee Nam||Lim Kay Siu||Tan Tee Seng|
|Eddie Ng||Low Yit Leng||Teo Soh Lung|
|Emily Boo||Lujahhan Mohd Islam||Terry Xu|
|Evan Ong Eng Ann||Lukas Godfrey||Timothy Soh|
|Fong Hoe Fang||Lynn Lee||Vanessa Ho|
|Francis Law||Mahaboob Baatsha||Veronica Denise Goh|
|Frederique Soh||Mansura Sajahan||Vincent Cheng|
|Han Hui Hui||Martin Ferrao||Vincent Law|
|Ho Choon Hiong||Melissa Tsang||Vivian Wang|
|Howard Lee||Miak Siew||Wong Chee Meng|
|Immae Tham||Ng E-Jay||Wong Souk Yee|
|Isrizal Mohamed Isa||Ng Joo Hock||Woon Tien Wei|
|Jacob George||Nicholas Harriman||Xu Zhi Long|
|Jacqueline Tan||Noor Effendy Ibrahim||Yap Ching Wi|
|Jaslyn Go||Nurul Huda||Yeo Yeu Yong|
|Jean Chong||Pak Geok Choo||Zeng Ziting|
|Jennifer Teo||Patrick Ong|
And the following organisations:
Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign
We Believe in Second Chances
Erratum: An amendment has been made to the statement. The definition of the child under the Convention for the Rights of the Child (CRC) is anyone below the age of 18 years and not 18 years and below, as previously stated. The definition of a young person is anyone below the age of 16, and not 16 years and below.
(The following is a statement released by members of civil society in response to the Ministry of Home Affair’s statement regarding Dinesh Raman, dated 13 September 2013)
MEDIA RELEASE, 15 September 2013
We deplore the statement issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs in respect of the late Mr Dinesh Raman s/o Chinniah, entitled Statement regarding the case of Dinesh Raman s/o Chinniah, published on the ministry’s website on 13 September 2013.
There is a claim before the courts. The family desires to learn the facts of their son and brother’s death while in the custody of the Singapore Prison Service. The details of the MHA press release pertaining to Mr Dinesh’s past, ostensibly in order to determine the quantum of compensation, have instead rehearsed his past misdeeds in order to conduct a character assassination ahead of the court hearing. It is designed to swing public opinion from sympathy for the family. Moreover, these matters are irrelevant to the case before the court.
They were then repeated in the mainstream media without regard for the sensibilities of the family or basic norms of courtesy. We urge the media to show more sensitivity to the family’s situation.
The action of the ministry in publishing its press release is deeply wrong. It has done so in a way that is clearly intended to destroy Mr Dinesh’s posthumous reputation. We have no doubt that by doing so it has added to the deep grief of the family, already suffering the profound pain of their only son’s loss. It is entirely unseemly for the Ministry of Home Affairs to have done so.
As fellow citizens, we demand that the Minister for Home Affairs apologise to the family.
Fadli Bin Fawzi
Ho Choon Hiong
Pak Geok Choo
Siew Kum Hong
Isrizal Mohamed Isa
Yap Ching Wi