The solidarity statement below was drafted and co-signed by a range of community groups and civil society organisations in Singapore. This public petition serves as an avenue for concerned individuals to add their support.
We, the undersigned, stand in solidarity with the two young Singaporeans who are under investigation for holding up signs with environmental messages and taking photographs of themselves in public areas. These are peaceful acts which have not caused harm to any persons or property.
We echo concerns that have previously been raised by community organisations and civil society groups on the use of the Public Order Act to heavily restrict freedom of peaceful expression and assembly. In addition, we are deeply troubled that peaceful expression on environmental issues that affect all of us is being silenced by authorities. This could impede open dialogue on such issues going forward.
We urge the Singapore Police Force to end the investigation against the two young people unconditionally without any charges or warnings. They have done nothing wrong.
We also call upon the people of Singapore to stand with the two youths and urge authorities to end the investigation. We do not see any public benefit in tying up public resources further in this investigation, especially now as Singapore and the world grapples with the existential threat of the Covid-19 pandemic.
While the undersigned groups pursue our respective pathways to advocate for the causes we care about, we have come together to express concern that such benign actions calling for a better world are being penalised. At a systemic level, we call upon the state to seriously reconsider the laws under which the two youths are being investigated.
The youth of today will be the most affected by the consequences of the climate crisis and ecological breakdown that is looming. Many experts have pointed to the high and increasing levels of carbon pollution as having contributed to the higher likelihood of extreme weather events, such as forest fires in Australia in 2019, floods in Jakarta in January this year, and forest fires in Chiang Mai this month.
Instead of dismissing those who speak up, we should listen to and empower them, like many other countries are doing for their own youth. The climate crisis will hurt vulnerable and marginalised groups in our society more. Those who speak up on the climate crisis contribute in their own way to larger efforts to bring about a more just and inclusive Singapore. We should not be punishing them for it.
Singapore cannot afford to turn away from our own carbon footprint and our responsibility to act, given our national resources and our capacity to enact real systemic change when we put our collective will to it. The people of Singapore are hard-working, skilled, dedicated and compassionate. Our community response to the challenge of Covid-19 has demonstrated this time and again over the last few months. The same political will to act decisively, at a systemic and collective level, is urgently needed to deal with the climate emergency ahead of us.
We cannot address these crises collectively if we do not have open dialogue and a penetrating understanding of the problem. Ensuring that the youth and other inhabitants of Singapore can ask for a liveable future, without fear or intimidation, is only the start, but it is the least we can do.
Lead Signatories: Bi+ Collective Singapore, Community Action Network, Community Classroom SG, Community for Advocacy and Political Education (CAPE), Crit Talk, Fossil Free Yale-NUS, Freedom of Information Singapore Working Group, Function 8, Humanitarian Organization for Migration Economics (HOME), IndigNation, Inter-University LGBT Network, MARUAH, Penawar, Pink Dot SG, Post-Museum, Prout, Sayoni, SG Climate Rally, Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign, soft/WALL/studs, Speak For Climate, Students for a Safer NUS, The Healing Circle, The Necessary Stage, 350 Singapore, Wake Up, Singapore, We Believe in Second Chances, We Who Witness, Your Head Lah!, WILD RICE, Think Centre
Student groups are signing in their own capacity independent of respective educational institutions.
News coverage of the police investigation can be found here: https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/18-year-girl-20-year-old-man-face-police-probe-alleged-public-assemblies-without-permits
This solidarity statement was first published on The Online Citizen on 14 April 2020 here: https://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2020/04/14/against-the-unjust-police-investigation-of-youth-climate-activists/
We, the undersigned Singaporeans and Permanent Residents, call on the Singapore Police Force to end the investigation against the two youth climate activists for the following reasons:
1. Their peaceful acts have caused no harm to persons or property.
2. Use of the Public Order Act to penalise peaceful expression inhibits dialogue on crucial issues affecting the public.
3. There is no benefit in tying up public resources further in this investigation, especially given the Covid-19 pandemic.
4. Those speaking up on the climate crisis are contributing to efforts to make Singapore more just and inclusive—they should be empowered, not dismissed.
The End the Police Investigation of Youth Climate Activists petition to The Government of Singapore was written by SG Climate Rally and is in the category Justice at GoPetition.