AI Hong Kong Section will be holding some actions against the Chinese
University awarding Lee Kuan Yew an honorary doctorate on 7 Dec 2000.
Please find the attached AI statement.
Joining together with Chinese University students, we are going to do two
things on that day.
From 8:30 am, we will distribute our statement (Chinese and English) to
students and staffs arriving the university at the University KCR station.
The exact location is the school bus stop at train station. If you can help
out this, please go there from 8:15 am but no later than 9:30 am. At the
same time, we will have a display board about human rights situation in
From 9:00 am to 1:00 pm, Mr. Mok Chiu-yu is organising a series of puppet
performances illustrating the human rights situation about Singapore at
the area outside the University Library ("Fung Fall Toy"). You are welcome
to be a audience.
Mr. Mok Chiu-yu and Ms Liz Whitelam are coordinating these actions. If you
would like to get more details, please contact them at email@example.com or 9800 7169 (Mr. Mok) and firstname.lastname@example.org or 9269 6582, or the AIHK office at 2300 1250.
We need your support.
AI Hong Kong
7 December 2000
Amnesty International Hong Kong joins Chinese University students in expressing our disappointment at the decision by Chinese University HK to award an honorary doctor of law to Mr. Lee Kuan Yew. Many of the human rights problems faced today in Singapore are those inherited from his premiership. Indeed the new post of senior minister, created specially for him, shows that he has no intention of giving up his influence.
What human rights problems are we talking about?
In Singapore today, the government misuses the law by bringing defamation suits against opposition members of parliament, which effectively keeps them out of parliament and creates a climate of self censorship. This seriously undermines the right of Singaporeans to freedom of expression.
Singapore has compulsory military service for young males. Those who refuse to serve in the army, often for religious reasons, "conscientious objectors", continue to be imprisoned. The authorities refuse to offer these people the alternative of civilian service.
The death penalty remains a mandatory sentence for drug trafficking, murder treason and certain firearm offences. Despite no evidence that these executions act in any way as a deterrent, Singapore continues to have one of the highest rates of executions in the world, in proportion to its population. Caning, which is a "cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment" and thus contravenes Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) continues to be the mandatory sentence for some 30 crimes.
Singapore has failed to sign up to many of the international treaties which protect human rights. These include the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
Amnesty International finds it deplorable that Chinese University plans to award an honourary degree to a man who has been the architect of a system in which serious human rights abuses take place, and who still wields considerable influence in that system. One of the functions of a university is to promote the free and open exchange of ideas. Amnesty International is surprised that a university of international standing finds it appropriate to honour a man responsible for curtailing freedom of expression in his own country.