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Iran | Death Penalty According to Shariah Law

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Chapter III of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran contains provisions related to the rights of the people.  In this Chapter, Article 22 states: “The dignity, life, property, rights, domicile, and occupations of people may not be violated, unless sanctioned by law.” However, the number of crimes punishable by death in Iran is among the highest in the world. Charges such as “adultery, incest, rape, sodomy, insulting the Prophet Mohammad and other great Prophets, possessing or selling illicit drugs, theft and alcohol consumption for the 4th time, premeditated murder, moharebeh (waging war against God), efsad-fil-arz (corruption on earth), baghy (armed rebellion), fraud and human trafficking” are capital offences.[1] Many of the charges punishable by death cannot be considered as “most serious crimes” and do not meet the ICCPR standards.[2] Murder, drug possession and trafficking, rape/sexual assault, moharebeh and efsad-fil-arz and baghy are the most common charges resulting

Singapore defends death penalty in first rights report to UN

Singapore in its inaugural report to the United Nations on the status of human rights defended its tough stance on the death penalty as well as other issues like detention without trial that have repeatedly come under fire from human rights groups.

The city-state is set in May to undergo the first stage of a review under the UN's Human Rights Council as part of the UN's effort to review the human rights situation in all its 192 member states.

The report released late Friday said 'as a young city-state with a multiracial, multireligious and multilingual population, Singapore has no margin for error.'

The government said it respected the universality of human rights but maintained that 'the manner in which all rights are attained and implemented must take cognizance of specific national circumstances and aspirations.'

On the death penalty, which is mandatory for murder and some drug-related offences, the report said Singapore 'considers capital punishment as a criminal justice issue rather than a human rights issue.'

'In the case of drug trafficking, the death penalty has deterred major drug syndicates from establishing themselves here,' it argued.

The report also defended Singapore's Internal Security Act, which allows detention without trial, saying it was preventive in neutralizing threats to national security and had proved effective in fighting terrorism.

'Governments around the world increasingly recognize the need for preventive powers within a comprehensive institutionalized legal framework to deal effectively with terrorism and all forms of violent extremism,' it said.

The report countered criticism by groups like Human Rights Watch that Singapore's laws on assembly and freedom of expression sharply limit peaceful criticism of the government and stymie dissenting voices.

'Behind the facade of a dynamic and open Singapore promoted by the government is a more sinister reality of serious restrictions on civil and political rights and determination to maintain one-party rule,' Human Rights Watch said in January. 'Behind the sunny Singaporean smile featured in tourism ads, there are iron teeth prepared to deal with those considered a challenge to the government.'

The government countered this week that given Singapore's small size and high population density and diversity, 'it is vital that individual rights and freedoms be exercised responsibly within a legal framework.'

Singapore, however, was open for change, the report added.

'We recognize that as the demands of our people change over time so too must our goals and policies,' it said.

Source: Deutsche Presse-Agentur, February 26, 2011


Singapore's human rights record under UN scrutiny

The Singapore government has submitted its report on the country's human rights track record to the United Nations, as part of a review of all UN member states.

This is the 1st time Singapore's human rights record is under scrutiny by the UN. 159 states have been reviewed since the 1st Universal Periodic Review (UPR) session in April 2008.

The 10,700-word report submitted to the UN seeks to put in context Singapore's political and social landscape.

It also looks into the protection of human rights in areas such as housing, education and special interest groups such as women, children and migrant workers.

Observers said issues that could attract attention include those concerning Singapore's position on detention without trial, right of assembly and corporal punishment including the death penalty.

In its report, the government said Singapore's diverse multi-racial, multi-religious society poses a challenge in balancing social harmony with the preservation of individual rights.

Under the chapter on political and civil liberties, the government said "no person has ever been detained for engaging in lawful political activities" in Singapore.

It added Singaporeans are free to set up societies and associations. There were 7,100 registered societies in 2009, compared to 5,300 in 1999 and 3,900 in 1988.

But the report added while Singaporeans are free to establish such groups, there are certain restrictions in the Societies Act to "ensure that groups intended for unlawful purposes or pose a threat to public order and welfare are not established".

Between 2007 and 2009, 5 out of 886 applications for registration were rejected.

The government added Singapore "considers capital punishment as a criminal justice issue, rather than a human rights one".

The report said capital punishment is imposed only for the most serious of crimes.

In the case of drug trafficking, the death penalty has deterred major drug syndicates from establishing themselves in Singapore.

On preventive detention, the government said it's a "last resort" to counter serious threats against public or national security.

"The need to protect witnesses and informants from intimidation is one of the reasons for preventive detention".

The Internal Security Act (ISA) for example, is not "punitive" but "preventive" in neutralising threats such as the emergence of terror group, the Jemaah Islamiyah.

The report said: "Governments around the world increasingly recognise the need for preventive powers within a comprehensive institutionalised framework to deal effectively with terrorism and all forms of violent extremism".

While the Singapore constitution provides that every citizen has the right to freedom of expression, the report said "Singapore's small size, high population density and diversity mean that actions or speech by one group of people could potentially have an impact on other groups.

"Given this, it is vital that individual rights and freedoms be exercised responsibly within a legal framework".

Civil society groups said the process is a good learning journey.

Braema Mathi, chairperson of Maruah, which represents a coalition of civil society organisations in Singapore, said: "It runs the risk of being a talk show, definitely we have to admit that, and I think this is where the test comes for the state -- whether the state is serious and to the best that all I have seen of Singapore, Singapore takes its international conventions very seriously and when it does agree to something, it tries to make sure that it acts on them.

"So I'm hoping that this will be one such structure that it will move on certain things.

"Of course, it will be foolhardy to think that 'wow! We will go and change everything overnight', but on certain crucial things, I think we must move and I hope that in the next 4-year cycle, we can go there and say 'ok these areas, we have improved substantially, not just the marginal tinkering around the edges'.

"We hope that with greater publicity, (we) will be more aware of human rights. This is in a way a report card that the UN is trying to bring more and more countries onto a universal platform on how human rights is appreciated, observed and acted upon.

"I think that's a very good beginning and we hope that more of our citizens will get engaged in looking at this".

Ms Mathi said this was a rigorous process for civil society and the government because Singapore is fact oriented.

"And in that process, we also do a lot of self learning and that's a good thing," she said.

"This cannot be done in isolation, governments cannot work on these things on their own, neither can civil society. So the more we interact, the more we consult one another, the more we work towards common goals, the better we make the country."

Still, Ms Mathi said she would have seen more of the inputs from civil society groups included in the report.

"The state has given a factual accounting of our thought processes, our history, how we relate to, in broad strokes, the concept of human rights.

"Basically it is the state stating its case in a lot of ways and I think there are no surprises in that approach.

"It would have been good to have some response because for the first time, quite a number of the civil society organisations put up their report to the office of the human rights council and therefore I do think it would have been great to see some form of interaction.

"But I also understand that this is the approach the state will take and all the specific issues will come up on May 6 when the government will be due for its report submission and interaction by other governments, who will then ask questions alongside international NGOs.

"So we hope that during that period of interaction, there will be more substantive questions on the various matters raised by the different civil society groups".

The national report is 1 of 3 to be submitted to the UN.

The rest are reports by local and international civil society organisations as well as one from the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights.

Singapore, led by Minister for Home Affairs & Minister for Law K Shanmugam, will make its representation in Geneva on May 6.

The 3-hour session will involve a dialogue with UN member and observer states.

An outcome document which is a summary of the proceedings and recommendations will be adopted on May 10.

The final outcome document will be adopted in September. This is where civic society organisations can also speak before the UN formally adopts the outcome document.

The final outcome document from this process will form the basis of the next review in 4 years.

The government has said Singapore will build on its achievements in human rights.

Preserving racial and religious harmony is top priority but it added laws will evolve to meet the changing political, economic and social aspirations of Singaporeans".

Source: Singapore News, February 25, 2011
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