Singapore

NGOs submit report on gender inequality

A coalition of 13 Singapore non-governmental organisations (NGOs) submitted a joint report on gender inequalities to a United Nations committee on Monday, despite earlier disagreements with other organisations over parts of the report.

Last week, it was reported that more than half of about 60 NGOs, which had been involved in the discussions, did not support the report to the UN Cedaw (Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women) Committee.

The Straits Times understands that groups such as the Singapore Muslim Women's Association, the People's Association's Women's Integration Network and the NTUC Women and Family Unit decided not to support the report because they found some parts too divisive or irrelevant to their interests.

Some of the contentious points in the report included a call for the removal of Section 377A of the Penal Code, which criminalises sex between men, a shift away from abstinence-based sex education, a ban on polygamy and tighter rules on Muslim inheritance and marriage.

Going by a statement issued by the coalition yesterday, the submitted report still contains the contentious parts some organisations had taken issue with.

The UN Cedaw Committee monitors the progress of signatory countries to the targets of the treaty. Singapore has been part of the convention since 1995.

All signatories are required to submit a report every four years to the Cedaw committee about what has been done to comply with and implement the provisions of Cedaw.

While individual Singapore NGOs have participated in previous Cedaw reporting cycles, this is the first time they have joined forces to prepare a report. - THE STRAITS TIMES

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