• The Singapore government continues to impose wide-ranging restrictions on core civil and political rights. Criminal defamation and contempt of court charges, including “scandalizing the judiciary” are used to rein in criticism of the government and the ruling People’s Action Party. The Public Order Act 2009 mandates a permit for any cause-related assembly in a public place. At the Yale-NUS College, political protests and partisan political societies are prohibited. Singapore implemented welcome legal reforms which granted judges limited sentencing discretion in place of mandatory capital punishment for certain offenses. Singapore maintains article 377A of its penal code to criminalizes sexual acts between consenting adult men. The High Court turned aside a constitutional challenge to that provision, ruling that repeal of the law would further a societal norm that has yet to “gain currency.”
  • A man covers his mouth with a Singaporean 50 dollar note ($40) during a protest against new licensing regulations imposed by the government for online news sites, at Hong Lim Park in Singapore on June 8, 2013.
    Singapore’s increased restrictions on news websites and other critical speech underscored the downward trend in free expression rights in the city-state.

Featured Content


  • Protection of Migrant Domestic Workers in Asia and the Middle East
  • Abuses against Domestic Workers Around the World
  • Ending Abuses Against Migrant Domestic Workers in Singapore


  • Jan 21, 2014
    Singapore’s increased restrictions on news websites and other critical speech underscored the downward trend in free expression rights in the city-state.
  • Aug 7, 2013
    Singapore’s Attorney General’s Chambers should cease using contempt of court charges to muzzle critics of the judiciary.
  • Jun 7, 2013
    The Singaporean government should withdraw an onerous new licensing requirement for online news sites. The new rules will further discourage independent commentary and reporting on the Internet in Singapore.
  • Feb 1, 2013
    Singapore continued its strict controls on free association, expression, assembly, and other basic rights in 2012, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2013.
  • Dec 5, 2012
    Singapore authorities should immediately drop charges against four migrant Chinese bus drivers who face trial on December 6, 2012, for leading a two-day work stoppage.
  • Nov 19, 2012
    Disregarding the deep concerns expressed by senior United Nations officials, human rights experts and hundreds of civil society and grassroots organisations at the national, regional and international levels, ASEAN leaders nonetheless adopted yesterday an “ASEAN Human Rights Declaration” that undermines, rather than affirms, international human rights law and standards.
  • Jul 19, 2012
    Yale University’s acceptance of Singaporean government restrictions on basic rights at the new Yale-National University of Singapore (NUS) joint campus shows a disturbing disregard for free speech, association, and assembly.
  • Jul 8, 2012

    Foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) should make a public commitment to ensure that the forthcoming ASEAN Human Rights Declaration will fully comply with international human rights standards. 

  • Jun 21, 2012
    Amnesty International, the International Commission of Jurists, Human Rights Watch, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Dignity International, and Article 19 welcome the first official consultation between ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) and civil society organisations (CSOs) on the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD), which is due to take place in Kuala Lumpur on June 22, 2012 at the Ritz Carlton Hotel.
  • May 14, 2012

    This past week in Bangkok, the ASEAN Inter-government Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) discussed one of the most important documents drafted by ASEAN since the regional grouping adopted the ASEAN Charter five years ago.