Stop harassment of human rights defender Jolovan Wham

The ICJ today urged the Government of Singapore to end the harassment of human rights defender Jolovan Wham and to amend laws used to restrict his work and the work of other human rights defenders.

Jolovan Wham is to appear at a pre-trial conference on seven criminal charges today. Jolovan Wham is a well-known human rights defender in Singapore who previously worked for a group that advocates for the rights of migrant workers and plays a leading role against the death penalty and the promotion of freedom of expression.

“These charges are not only an impermissible attack on Jolovan Wham individually, but human rights work more generally in Singapore,” said Sam Zarifi, Secretary General of ICJ.

“It is an unmistakable message to other human rights defenders that they may face the same harassment and intimidation if they continue their work,” he added.

Jolovan Wham was charged in connection with facilitating a Skype conference with Hong Kong human rights defender, Joshua Wong Chi-Fung, on “civil disobedience and democracy in social change”.

Other charges relate to his organizing peaceful public assemblies, allegedly without permits, to protest the death penalty and to commemorate the day when 16 individuals were arrested by Singapore authorities in 1987 and detained without trial under the country’s Internal Security Act (ISA).

He was also charged for refusing to sign statements prepared by police authorities when he was taken in for investigation on 28 November 2017.

Most of the charges against Jolovan Wham were for alleged violations of Section 7 of the Public Order Act, which makes an offence the holding of a public assembly or public procession without a permit.

The ICJ considers that aspects of Section 7, particularly as applied to the charges against Jolvan Wham, may serve to impermissibly restrict the exercise of the right to freedom of peaceful assembly in Singapore, which is protected under international standards.

“Singapore should immediately act to amend the Public Order Act with a view to ensuring that it is consistent with international human rights law and standards, particularly as they relate to the exercise freedoms of expression and assembly,” Zarifi said.

Under international law and standards, prior authorization of assemblies is generally inconsistent with the right to freedom of peaceful assembly, except for narrow exceptions.

The UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, in a 2012 report, clarified that prior authorization should generally not be necessary.

At most, it should require notification that is not unduly burdensome, so as allow the authorities to facilitate the exercise of the right to peaceful assembly and to take measures to protect public safety and public order and the rights and freedoms of others.

The Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (Declaration on Human Rights Defenders), emphasizes the right of human rights defenders “to meet or assemble peacefully” and “to study, discuss, form and hold opinions on the observance, both in law and in practice, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms, and through these and other appropriate means, to draft public attention to those matters

Contact:

Emerlynne Gil, ICJ Senior International Legal Adviser, t: +66 840923575 ; e: emerlynne.gil(a)icj.org

Singapore-Wham harrassment-News-Press releases-2017-ENG (full story with additional info, in PDF)

 

 

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9 Responses to “Stop harassment of human rights defender Jolovan Wham”

  • Bapak:

    Dear ICJ,

    There is no point writing in to this police state. Your letter ends up in the waste paper basket. It is just like same writing to Kim Jong-un, North Korea. Singapore = North Korea, sama-sama!

    You should take concrete steps by lobbying the world leaders to buildup economic sanction on Singapore. You all so called Human Rights Organisations should group together to get UN to form a Special Against Human Rights Committee and set some standdards to sanction countries like Sinkapore. If you can do it to North Korea, why can’t you do it to North Korean No. Two – Singapore?

    Let see who are the hypocratical countries that preaches human rights and yet do business with them. Someone told me USA is the No. 1 most hypocritical countries in the world. I stands corrected!

    You have to twist their arms from overseas. Raise the awareness high to the world – shame them. No point writing. You are only singing to the cows. There are many cows and kangaroos here.

    1st cow is called D1 (without legs hiding behind skirts),
    2nd cow is called Woody (he is also called No-U-Turn),
    3rd cow is called Khaw (had a $8 heart bypass, clever to hide when there is troubles),
    4th cow is called KeeChui (a boy tried to act like a man),
    5th cow is called Shame guy,…and the list goes on and on.

    And finally, surprisingly, all kangaroos hop and listen to the cow. Very strange Animal Farm here.

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  • Rama Chandran Andrew:

    Issue of legal representation during interrogation by law enforcement needs to be addressed to.

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  • Great Asia:

    Stop harassment of human rights opportunist Jolovan Wham.

    Ha ha ha!

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  • self regulation is a myth:

    There is hardly any human rights here.

    The way PAP Govt treated Jolovan proves it

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  • Uncle Lim:

    Yet another grand sounding appeal which Leegim scoffs at.

    A new approach is called for like sanctions against Leegim leaders and their families. For example, denial of tourist visa, further studies etc.

    Any dictator ever listen to such appeals tell me.

    Hahaha, can you hear the dictator derisive laughter?

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  • Bystander:

    Poor Jolovan. He’s being made scapegoat to show PAP GOvt is fair to all that anyone, in particular Li Shengwu, has to face contempt of Court charges.
    Well, can’t sue younger brother, the other son of LKY, then sue nephew,
    the next best move to take revenge on a sibling who dared smeared his reputation.

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  • The Rot Start From The Top:

    This country is ruled by a regime comprises of politicians that is no different from gangsterism, using big knuckles to bully its citizens. Only a regime change can only bring these political gangsterism to face justice. It’s time Singaporeans wake up, and vote PAP out. Then, many mysteries that are locked tightly away from us, can he unlock and The Dishonourable Son and wife got plenty to answer and to face proper probing.

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  • Tatman:

    And so do those Pink Dot people who are nowhere to be found.

    Bapak:
    Dear ICJ,

    There is no point writing in to this police state. Your letter ends up in the waste paper basket. It is just like same writing to Kim Jong-un, North Korea. Singapore = North Korea, sama-sama!

    You should take concrete steps by lobbying the world leaders to buildup economic sanction on Singapore. You all so called Human Rights Organisations should group together to get UN to form a Special Against Human Rights Committee and set some standdards to sanction countries like Sinkapore. If you can do it to North Korea, why can’t you do it to North Korean No. Two – Singapore?

    Let see who are the hypocratical countries that preaches human rights and yet do business with them. Someone told me USA is the No. 1 most hypocritical countries in the world. I stands corrected!

    You have to twist their arms from overseas. Raise the awareness high to the world – shame them. No point writing. You are only singing to the cows. There are many cows and kangaroos here.

    1st cow is called D1 (without legs hiding behind skirts),
    2nd cow is called Woody (he is also called No-U-Turn),
    3rd cow is called Khaw (had a $8 heart bypass, clever to hide when there is troubles),
    4th cow is called KeeChui (a boy tried to act like a man),
    5th cow is called Shame guy,…and the list goes on and on.

    And finally, surprisingly, all kangaroos hop and listen to the cow. Very strange Animal Farm here.

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  • HarderTruths:

    ICJ

    You charlatans have no real jobs but sit around writing to one country after another with absolutely no effect. You are in it for the money just like the pappies so spare us your bullshit. I looked you guys up on Google. You are a bunch of crooked layers nothing more.

    If your organisation really meant something it would have been able to send representatives here to defend Jolovan or get the USA ($G govrnment’s sponsor) to take some kind of action.

    Alas this is just crocodile tears from another set of self-appointed democracy ‘experts’ raking in UN salaries.

    What are you doing in Thailand? Is the massage parlour work keeping you busy?

    ICJ – don’t pretend to be something you are not and give false hope to people who really need help. t the end of the day you don’t give a s**t about us. This is just your way to get easy money.

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