Human Rights Watch will not appear before Select Committee, says invitation not in 'good faith'

The Select Committee had given Human Rights Watch till noon on March 29, 2018, to respond to its latest invitation to give evidence on its report, "Kill the Chicken to Scare the Monkeys" - Suppression of Free Expression and Assembly in Singapore".
The Select Committee had given Human Rights Watch till noon on March 29, 2018, to respond to its latest invitation to give evidence on its report, "Kill the Chicken to Scare the Monkeys" - Suppression of Free Expression and Assembly in Singapore".PHOTO: GOV.SG

SINGAPORE - A US-based non-governmental organisation has said it will not appear before the parliamentary committee looking into deliberate online falsehoods.

The Select Committee had given Human Rights Watch (HRW) till noon on March 29 to respond to its latest invitation to give evidence after Parliament reopens in May on its December 2017 report, "Kill the Chicken to Scare the Monkeys" - Suppression of Free Expression and Assembly in Singapore".

HRW did not receive a reply by that deadline.

The organisation's report was criticised at the public hearings by the People's Action Party's Policy Forum, which labelled it as type of deliberate falsehood.

The Law Ministry subsequently slammed HRW for declining to defend its report, which it said contains "serious inaccuracies, misimpressions, untrue statements" .

HRW had initially agreed to appear before the committee, but later said it was unable to do so, citing scheduling difficulties.

In a statement on Friday (March 30), HRW said the committee's actions have "made it clear that this is not a serious and good faith effort to discuss the findings of our December 2017 report or to get our input into dealing with online falsehoods in a manner consistent with international law".

 
 

It added: "It is hard to see how we can have a fruitful discussion of the report and related issues when committee members and the Ministry of Law have already issued distorted and misleading comments."

Public hearings to fight online falsehoods: Read the submissions here and watch more videos.