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Strong Political Declaration Needed to Reduce Civilian Harm

The Covid-19 pandemic has put the brakes on many things, including the negotiations to conclude a new political declaration on explosive weapons in populated areas. But states have continued such use, particularly with weapons with wide-area effects,…
Children in front of the Africa/Ayga hotel likely damaged by a direct fire weapon in Humera town, Tigray region, Ethiopia, on November 22, 2020.
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UN Inquiry Needed into Alleged Violations by Warring Parties

(Nairobi) – Ethiopian federal forces carried out apparently indiscriminate shelling of urban areas in the Tigray region in November 2020 in violation of the laws of war, Human Rights Watch said today. Artillery attacks at the start of the armed…
A woman stands in a metal sheet room that was damaged by shelling in Humera town, Tigray region, Ethiopia, on November 22, 2020. In that residential compound, two women and an elderly man were killed by shelling and gunfire, and two women were wounded.
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Arrests Focus Spotlight on Anti-Free Speech Laws

The arrests of three demonstrators in Singapore who were protesting the plight of transgender students highlights the extent of free speech restrictions in the city-state. Authorities arrested the trio on January 26 as they picketed outside…
201801wr_singapore_human_rights A woman wrapped in the rainbow flag is seen at the Pink Dot rally, Singapore's annual gay pride rally, at a park in Singapore July 1, 2017.
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Keeping a Law on the Books Just to Demonize a Minority is Clearly Wrong

  On March 30, 2020, the Singapore High Court has dismissed three cases seeking to strike down a colonial-era law that makes consensual gay sex a crime. With a highly technical reading of the law, High Court Justice…
Participants at the annual Pink Dot Singapore event, in Singapore on June 28 2014.
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Authorities Repress Critical Voices, Independent Media

(New York) – Singapore used broad laws in 2018 to intensify already severe restrictions on free speech and assembly, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2019. The government appears poised to introduce legislation on “deliberate…
Jolovan Wham participates in a silent protest with eight other activists on an MRT train in Singapore, June 3, 2017
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Rights Record on Free Expression, Assembly Worsens

(New York) – Singapore’s government imposed further restrictions on free speech and peaceful assembly while harassing and prosecuting critical voices in 2017, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2018. In the 643-page…
201801wr_singapore_human_rights A woman wrapped in the rainbow flag is seen at the Pink Dot rally, Singapore's annual gay pride rally, at a park in Singapore July 1, 2017.
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Government Hurdle for International Corporate Sponsors Leads to Local Business Support

Pink Dot, Singapore’s annual event bringing people together in support of its lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community, proved extra special this year when over 100 local businesses sponsored the gathering. This year,…
A woman wrapped in the rainbow flag is seen at the Pink Dot rally, Singapore's annual gay pride rally, at a park in Singapore July 1, 2017.
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Court Ruling Opens the Way to Marriage Equality

Taiwan’s constitutional court this week paved the way for marriage equality in the country by striking down the legal definition of marriage as “between a man and a woman.” The landmark decision declared this limited…
Supporters hug each other during a rally after Taiwan's constitutional court ruled that same-sex couples have the right to legally marry, the first such ruling in Asia, in Taipei, Taiwan May 24, 2017.
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Recent moves by Singapore's government to change its notoriously narrow public order law to further restrict free speech came as no surprise. But the specificity and persistence of the moves by the country's home affairs ministry -- first, in June, a…
Participants at the annual Pink Dot Singapore event, in Singapore on June 28 2014.
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Premier’s Visit is Chance to Address Censorship, LGBT Protections

(Washington, DC) – United States President Barack Obama should press visiting Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to address the Singapore government’s severe restrictions on fundamental freedoms, Human Rights Watch said today. President Obama will meet with…
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and US President Barack Obama deliver remarks in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on November 22, 2015.
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Re: State Visit by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong

Dear President Obama, As you prepare for the state visit of Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on August 2, 2016, we write to highlight key human rights concerns that we hope you will raise in both public and private…
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Government Presses Foreign Sponsors of PinkDot Festival

(New York) – The government of Singapore should rescind its call for foreign corporations to cease sponsorship of a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) diversity event, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to the home affairs minister. The…
© 2014 Reuters. Participants gather for the 2014 PinkDot celebration in Singapore.
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Last June, Facebook locked the account of “Happy Addis”, an Ethiopian LGBT activist who runs Facebook groups for gay Ethiopians. The reason? His Facebook profile does not list his real name. But Happy Addis had good reason not to want his real name…
Facebook real name
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Repeal Retrograde Law Banning Consensual Sex Relations Between Adult Men

(Berlin) – A Singapore Supreme Court ruling on October 29, 2014 to uphold the country’s ban on same-sex relations between consenting adult men is a major setback for equal rights in Singapore, Human Rights Watch said today. The court decision sends a…
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And Tango Makes Three is a children’s book about two adult male penguins who hatch an egg and raise a youngster. It is based on the true story of two penguins, Roy and Silo, of New York’s Central Park Zoo. And, in the view of Singapore’s National Library…
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City-state Undercuts Status as Financial Center by Expanding Media Censorship to Web

(New York) – 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. On May 28, 2013, the Media…