The following information reports U.S. Government priorities and activities of the U.S. mission in Singapore to promote democracy and human rights. For background on Singapore's human rights conditions, please see the 2009 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
and the International Religious Freedom Reports
Part 1: U.S. Government Democracy Objectives
The United States supports liberalizing trends in the country by engaging key audiences, including politicians from all parties, civil society activists, journalists, youth, and the Malay-Muslim community. The U.S. Government's priorities are to cultivate, primarily through public diplomacy efforts, support for greater democratization, liberalization of political debate, and a more independent media, as well as increased respect for political freedoms and human rights.
Part 2: Supporting Top Priorities and Other Aspects of Human Rights and Democratic Governance
The United States conducts a comprehensive outreach program to local and regional audiences through speeches, media appearances, cultural events, the Internet, and other programming in cooperation with "American Connections" partners, think tanks, local arts institutions, and NGOs. These programs help government officials and key local audiences gain an enhanced understanding of the democratic process and the value of human rights. For example, U.S. officials and a U.S. Government-funded speaker worked to foster support for democratic principles by speaking about the United States' transition to the new administration following the 2008 presidential election. Hearing about the peaceful and orderly transfer of power between parties allowed audiences to draw comparisons to the country's experience, where the ruling party has been in power continuously since 1959.
The United States conducts a range of programs and activities to heighten government and popular sensitivity to human rights. U.S. officials maintain active communications with the government, political parties, human rights organizations, and civil society representatives. U.S. officials continue to urge the country to work within the Association of Southeast Asian States (ASEAN) to ensure that the newly created ASEAN human rights commission develops into a meaningful institution for promoting and protecting human rights in the region. U.S. officials have established a working relationship with the country's appointed representative to this institution.
Through the U.S.-funded International Visitor Leadership Program, the U.S. Government continues to reach out directly to potential leaders in journalism, civil society, and politics. The embassy continues to expand its speaker program to inform a broader and younger audience about U.S. society and foreign policy. The program encourages liberalizing trends through discussion of fundamental freedoms.
The U.S. Government makes it a priority to engage extensively with the country's Malay-Muslim community and other religious communities. In early 2010 the U.S. Government brought together a U.S. official who focuses on religious freedom and representatives of the umbrella organization for the 10 major religions of the country.