The following information is based on the Amnesty International Report 2021/22. This report documented the human rights situation in 149 countries in 2021, as well as providing global and regional analysis. It presents Amnesty International’s concerns and calls for action to governments and others.


Defamation suits and repressive laws were used against human rights defenders and government critics resulting in steep fines and prison sentences. A new law further limited rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association.

Freedom of expression

Political leaders continued to use defamation suits to silence critics. In February, blogger and activist Leong Sze Han was ordered to pay SGD133,000 (US$99,000) in damages after being sued by the Prime Minister. Leong Sze Han had shared a news article on social media linking Lee Hsien Loong to a corruption scandal. In September, Terry Xu and Rubaashini Shunmuganathan from the independent news site,The Online Citizen, were also found guilty of defamation against the Prime Minister and ordered to pay SGD210,000 (US$156,138). Later that month, The Online Citizen was forced to close its website and social media accounts after the government accused it of failing to declare its funding sources. In November, Terry Xu and Daniel de Costa were found guilty of defamation against cabinet members and were awaiting sentencing at year’s end. In October, parliament passed the Foreign Interference (Countermeasures) Act (FICA) giving the government sweeping new powers, including to remove or block access to online content if “foreign interference” is suspected. The law also introduced harsh penalties for media outlets and others considered as “foreign agents”.1

Freedom of assembly

In February, human rights defender Jolovan Wham was convicted of breaching the Public Order Act and the Vandalism Act for peaceful protests in 2017 against violations of human rights. He served 22 days in prison.2 In August, Jolovan Wham appeared in court again on charges related to an incident in 2018 when he took a photo of himself holding a poster outside a court where Terry Xu and Daniel de Costa were on trial.

Migrants’ rights

A woman was sentenced to 30 years’ imprisonment in June for starving, torturing and killing her domestic worker in 2016. Covid-19 restrictions continued to confine low-income migrant workers to cramped dormitories and workplaces. In November, the UN CERD Committee reviewed the government’s report and recommended stronger protections for migrant workers, including female domestic workers.

LGBTI people’s rights

In January, a transgender student alleged that the Ministry of Education prevented her from receiving prescribed hormone replacement therapy. Three students, who were arrested in January for protesting against discrimination against LGBTI+ people in schools, were released on bail. In November, they and three others were issued with police warnings for staging a protest without a permit.3

Death penalty

There was international outcry against the planned execution in November of Malaysian national Nagaenthran Dharmalingam who was sentenced to the mandatory death penalty for drug trafficking. He was assessed to have intellectual disabilities. His appeal was still pending at year’s end.4

Singapore Newsroom

May 16, 2023 • Press Release

DEATH PENALTY 2022: Recorded Executions Skyrocket to Highest Figure in Five Years

Recorded executions in 2022 reached the highest figure in five years, as the Middle East and North Africa’s most notorious executioners carried out killing sprees, Amnesty International said today as it released its annual review of the death penalty.

February 18, 2016 • Report

Amnesty International State of the World 2015-2016

International protection of human rights is in danger of unravelling as short-term national self-interest and draconian security crackdowns have led to a wholesale assault on basic freedoms and rights, warned Amnesty International as it launched its annual assessment of human rights around the world. “Your rights are in jeopardy: they are being treated with utter contempt by many governments around the world,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

February 25, 2015 • Report

State of the World 2014/2015

This has been a devastating year for those seeking to stand up for human rights and for those caught up in the suffering of war zones. Governments pay lip service to the importance of protecting civilians. And yet the world's politicians have miserably failed to protect those in greatest need. Amnesty International believes that this can and must finally change.

May 23, 2013 • Report

Annual Report: Singapore 2013

Republic of Singapore Head of state Tony Tan Keng Yam Head of government Lee Hsien Loong Singapore took steps to roll back the mandatory death penalty, but the media remained …

March 19, 2011 • Report

Annual Report: Singapore 2010

Head of state S. R. Nathan Head of government Lee Hsien Loong Death penalty retentionist Population 4.7 million Life expectancy 80.2 years Under-5 mortality (m/f) 4/4 per 1,000 Adult literacy …

April 7, 2020 • Press Release

Over 20,000 Migrant Workers in Quarantine in Singapore Must be Protected from Mass Infection

Responding to reports that two dormitories for migrant workers in Singapore have been designated as “isolation areas” and that over 20,000 of them have been put under quarantine there, Rachel Chhoa-Howard, Amnesty International’s Singapore Researcher said:

August 16, 2016 • Press Release

Singapore: Contempt of court bill is a threat to freedom of expression

Singapore’s Administration of Justice (Protection) Bill is a broad and vaguely worded law that will impose yet another undue restriction on freedom of expression, Amnesty International said today. “Under the …

May 20, 2016 • Press Release

Singapore: Disgraceful execution of Kho Jabing

Amnesty International condemns the execution of Kho Jabing, a Malaysian national convicted of murder, mere hours after his last chance for a reprieve was dismissed by the Court of Appeal.

May 19, 2016 • Press Release

Singapore president must act now to stop execution

The Singapore authorities should immediately halt the execution of Kho Jabing, a Malaysian national convicted of murder, Amnesty International said today.

February 22, 2016 • Press Release

Amnesty International’s Annual State of the World Report Slams Governments, Including the U.S., for Global Assault on Freedoms

On the launch of its 2015 State of the World report, Amnesty International USA urged President Obama to use his last year in office to bring U.S. laws and policies in line with international human rights standards.