Singapore Democrats, 9 Dec 2007

A couple of members of the Law Society will call on the organisation to set up a committee to look into human rights issues in Singapore.

Lawyers Mr M Ravi and Mr Chia Ti Lik told listeners at a gathering at Speakers Corner this afternoon to mark International Human Rights Day on 10 Dec.

The two lawyers will be at the Law Society office on South Bridge Road together with members of SgHumanRights at 2 pm tomorrow to present the petition.

Singapore’s Law Society has remained conspicuously quiet on Human rights Day. It also continues to shy away from engaging the PAP Government on rule of law issues even though the abuse of Executive power has been rampant.

Meanwhile across the causeway, lawyers are at the forefront of championing the rights of Malaysians.

Opposition parties have also supported their efforts with parliamentary Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang condemning the Malaysians heavy-handedness in dealing with the lawyers.

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Source: TOC’s Lawyers petition Law Society of Singapore

President

The Law Society of Singapore

39 South Bridge Road

Singapore 058357

HUMAN RIGHTS DAY – OUR CALLING

Dear Sir,

We congratulate you on your appointment as our new President.

Today we mark the Human Rights Day along with Lawyers and Bar Associations around the world that affectionately include the Malaysian Bar Council.

We record with dismay that Human Rights Day is a non-event to our Law Society. We earnestly hope that along with the Law Society’s major events like the Dinner and Dance, and Bench Bar Games, Human Rights Day will find its way into our calendar in the coming years.

On this day, we call upon the Law Society of Singapore to stand firmly on our mission to uphold the Rule of Law in maintaining a strong and independent Bar as contained in our mission statement published on our website.

It has been twenty years since the Legal Profession Act was amended by the state to muzzle the Law Society from commenting on existing and proposed legislation, unless its views were expressly solicited. This oppressive legislation not only stifles the Law Society from making an active contribution to the law making process but also takes away our vital role as a vanguard of rights of the people. It is time that we broke this 20 year silence in speaking up for our rights to speak up.

Given our close affiliation to the Malaysian Bar Council, we would like to urge the Law Society to stand in solidarity in their courageous fight for the rule of law in Malaysia and in this spirit denounce the recent arrest of the lawyers.

We therefore mark this Human Rights Day in calling upon the Law Society of Singapore to:

1. Campaign for the repeal of the section in the Legal Profession Act which prevents the Law Society from speaking on existing or proposed legislation;

2. Look into ways to strengthen the Independence of the Judiciary especially at the Subordinate Courts;

3. Set up a sub-committee on human rights under the Law Society and conduct human rights training for lawyers;

4. Submit an annual report on human rights violations in Singapore to the Human Rights Institute of the International Bar Association (IBA) and follow up on issues pertaining to the Rule of Law raised at the recent IBA 2007 Conference;

5. Establishment of a Judicial complaints mechanism in addressing complaints by lawyers and the public on any misbehaviour by Judges and Legal Officers from the Attorney-General’s Chambers.

6. Urge the government to set up a National Human Rights Commission..

Yours faithfully,

M.Ravi

Chia Ti Lik

L.F. Violet Netto