Activism on arbitrary detention, the suspension of law
Article 9 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) asserts that “[n]o one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile“.I Despite this, Singapore has a protracted history of arbitrary detention- originating from the Emergency Regulations, introduced under British imperialism in 1948 (NLB n.d.), before the Preservation of Public Security Ordinance (PPSO) was legislated under the ﬁrst Chief Minister David Marshall’s governance in 1955 (Poh 2015a). The current incarnation — the Internal Security Act (ISA) — was adopted during the 1963 Singapore—Malaya merger and amended in 1989 following a landmark lawsuit.This chapter deﬁnes arbitrary detention according to the three criteria established by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, Resolution No.1997/50.2 First, what constitutes as ‘arbitrary’ includes the lack of legal basis to justify detention, thereby keeping an individual in detention as opposed to charging him or her in court. Second, arbitrary detention entails “deprivation of liberty”.“ Third, detention is arbitrary when detainees are unable to exercise “the right to a fair trial”.4 Arbitrary detention in Singapore, therefore, is not conﬁned to the ISA. Under the Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Act (CIII‘I’A), the Minister of Home Affairs may direct a “person [to] be detained for any period not exceeding one year” in the “interests of public safety, peace and good order”.5 The Misuse of Drugs Act (MoDA) speciﬁes that a person can be detained if he or she is “reasonably suspected] to be a drug addict”,° and further provides for “presumption” of liability until proven the contrary"
Dispute Resolution and Arbitration
A History of Human Rights Society in Singapore: 1965-2015
City or Country
LIM, Li-Ann, ONG, Connie, SUBHAN, Mohamed Salihin, CHOY, Benjamin, & SENG, Tan Tee. (2017). Activism on arbitrary detention, the suspension of law. In A History of Human Rights Society in Singapore: 1965-2015 (pp. 70-95). London: Routledge.
Available at: http://ink.library.smu.edu.sg/soss_research/2255