I was at the European Parliament yesterday, and in a rare occasion, felt less pride in adorning my Singapore Badge. A representative from the Council of Europe highlighted Singapore’s leading role in opposing the move by the UN General Assembly to pass a resolution to abolish or impose a moratorium on death penalty. Quite a number (almost all, I should say) of the Representatives from the 115 countries present shook their heads in disapproval. In the last few days we heard the inspiring stories of how a restorative justice model works well in the countries that have abolished the death penalty and there is absolutely no reason why Singapore cannot embrace this route.
At this morning’s plenary, the Minister of Justice of the Republic of Guinea came to share the recent news and the experience of his country’s own journey into the abolition of the death penalty.
Two diplomats I spoke to over coffee expressed their utmost concerns as to why Singapore is hell bent on using its diplomatic resources to frustrate the efforts of the global community in abolishing the death penalty in places like Iran, China, Saudi Arabia etc. Our much loved neighbours and with whom we have a common heritage, Malaysia saw the wisdom to announce its decision to abolish the death penalty.
Singapore has been a shining example to the world in so many areas of technology, science and infrastructure development and so many countries use it as a role model. In my eyes however, to be really progressive all around and be a true bastion of exemplariness, Singapore needs to get rid of this cruel, inhumane, archaic, and barbaric practice. It is a stain on its reputation and the longer it resists the more permanent its mark becomes.