Response to Human Rights Watch
1. We refer to Human Rights Watch’s (HRW) statement dated 27 March 2018.
2. HRW claims it is “absurd” that the Ministry has accused HRW of being unwilling to defend their report, “Kill the Chicken to Scare the Monkeys" – Suppression of Free Expression and Assembly in Singapore. They also say that HRW had offered to send a staff member, but that the Committee did not confirm a date until the staff had made other commitments.
3. As the chronology from the Select Committee shows:
- HRW had indicated on 10 March (Saturday) that its representative would be available to appear on 23 March, and asked if that would be possible.
- Within 3 days, on 13 March (Tuesday), the Committee wrote back to HRW, confirming the 23 March slot.
- HRW was also informed that its representative should be prepared to address questions on its Report.
- HRW then told the Committee that they were no longer able to attend the hearings – either on 23 March, as they had originally requested, or on any of the other 14 days between 15 and 29 March.
- Even when the Committee offered the option of Video Conference on any of these 14 days, HRW declined to participate.
4. Their latest statement leaves out any explanation for why they are unable to attend through video-conferencing, from an overseas location – at any time over a period of 14 days from 15 to 29 March.
5. HRW’s lack of enthusiasm in wanting to defend its Report is obvious.