Country Reports on Human Rights Practices - 2005
Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
March 8, 2006
Singapore is a parliamentary republic in which politics is dominated overwhelmingly by the People's Action Party (PAP), which has been in power since 1959. The population was approximately 4.2 million, with foreign workers accounting for nearly one‑seventh of the total. Opposition parties exist, and parliamentary elections take place at regular, constitutionally mandated intervals (most recently in November 2001); however, the PAP holds 82 of 84 elected parliamentary seats and all ministerial positions. The government maintained effective control over all security activities.
The government generally respected the human rights of its citizens; however, there were significant problems in some areas. The government has broad powers to limit citizens' rights and to handicap political opposition, which it used in practice. Caning was an allowable punishment for numerous offenses. The following human rights problems were reported:
- preventive detention
- executive influence over the judiciary
- infringement of citizens' privacy rights
- restriction of speech and press freedom, and the practice of self-censorship by journalists
- restriction of freedom of assembly and freedom of association
- some restriction on freedom of religion
- some trafficking in persons
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