US report on human rights in Singapore 'inaccurate': MFA

Singapore has refuted a United States report on human rights practices here again, saying it "includes the same gross inaccuracies and misrepresentations" on the Government's laws and policies that it had rebutted in previous years.

In a strongly worded response sent to the United States Department of State, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it "note with disappointment" that its previous rebuttals went unheeded, and said this undermined the objectivity of the latest report.

The response came after the US State Department released its annual assessment of human rights practices of other countries. Its latest report on Singapore covered a range of aspects such as the use of caning as a punishment for certain crimes and the Internal Security Act which permits preventive detention without warrant.

The ministry said it had made clear, including in Singapore's presentation at the 2011 United Nations Universal Periodic Review in Geneva, that human rights cannot be considered in isolation from the circumstances of the society in which they are embedded.

"We continue to be disturbed, therefore, by the double standard applied by the US' criticism of our Internal Security Act, which is meant to address grave and serious threats to internal security, including threats to public order, communal and religious harmony, and subversive and terrorist activities," it said in a statement on Thursday.

The ministry added that "by repeating the same misrepresentations and inaccuracies year after year and ignoring even factual clarifications, it is apparent the US Department of State is more interested in imposing its own ideology, rather than making a genuine attempt to understand human rights practices as they actually exist, whether in Singapore or elsewhere." it said. "This calls into question the overall objectivity of the report."