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Committee on the Rights of the Child reviews the report of Singapore

Committee on the Rights of the Child 

17 May 2019

The Committee on the Rights of the Child today concluded its consideration of the combined fourth and fifth periodic report of Singapore on measures taken to implement the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Faishal Bin Ibrahim Khan Surattee, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Social and Family Development and the Ministry of Education of Singapore, introduced the report and said that his country strived to provide a good start for every child.  Believing education to be a key social enabler, Singapore provided primary education free of charge, offered financial assistance to children from low-income families, and was investing heavily in the early childhood sector.  A KidSTART programme had been introduced in 2016 to provide upstream support for health, learning, and development needs for children from low-income families, while the support to families in their care for the children included, for example, the Baby bonus cash gift and government co-savings into the Child Development Account that could be used to pay for approved child-raising uses.  Several parental leave schemes were coded into the legislation and employers were strongly encouraged to introduce family-friendly work practices, while major steps had been taken to reduce school stress, including through the revamping of the Primary School Leaving Examination from 2021 onwards.  The amendment bill to the Children and Young Persons Act would raise the age limit of a child and young person from 16 to 18 years, while the amended Penal Code would ensure that children under the age of 18 were protected from physical and sexual offences.

At the beginning of the dialogue, Committee Experts commended the significant strides Singapore had made with regards to children and family, in particular, the focus and investment into quality education and the establishment of the family justice court in which children remained primary focus during family disputes.  The country, however, had not yet repealed the practice of corporal punishment, which was a deeply degrading punishment that harmed the child’s dignity.  While the raising of the minimum age of criminal responsibility from seven to ten years was commendable, this still remained well below the international standard and the minimum age of 14 that the Committee recommended.  How would the amendments the Children and Young Persons enhance the protection and rehabilitation of children, particularly the 6 to 18 cohort who seemed to fall through the gaps in criminal legislation?  The concept of life imprisonment for minors was disturbing, they said and hoped that Singapore was revising this legal provision and reviewing sentences that had already been issued.  The Experts noted with concern the reports of discrimination in access to services that some groups of children experienced, including children of unmarried parents, children of single mothers, and non-nationals.  Resource allocation prioritized the needs of the citizens, which would lead to a society with two classes of children, Singaporeans and others, instead of creating a just society for all.

Renate Winter, Committee Co-Rapporteur for Singapore, concluded by thanking the delegation for their very detailed responses and the fact that good laws and planning had been instituted. 

Mr. Bin Ibrahim Khan Surattee in his concluding remarks reiterated the commitment to continue to provide all children and especially the vulnerable ones with a good start in life regardless of their situation at birth. 

Luis Ernesto Pedernera Reyna, Committee Chairperson, urged Singapore to take steps in the immediate future towards abolishing the practice of corporal punishment.
The delegation of Singapore consisted of representatives of the Ministry of Social and Family Development, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Attorney-General’s Chambers, as well as the representatives of the Permanent Mission of Singapore to the United Nations Office at Geneva.

All the documents relating to the Committee’s work, including reports submitted by States parties, can be found on the session’s webpage.  The webcast of the Committee’s public meetings will be available via the following link: http://webtv.un.org/meetings-events/.

The Committee will next meet in public on Monday, 20 May at 3 p.m. to review the second periodic report of Côte d’Ivoire (CRC/CIV/2).

Report

The Committee has before it the combined fourth and fifth periodic report of Singapore (CRC/C/SGP/4-5) and the reply to the list of issues (CRC/C/SGP/Q/4-5/Add.1).

Presentation of the Report

FAISHAL BIN IBRAHIM KHAN SURATTEE, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Social and Family Development and the Ministry of Education of Singapore, stressed that building a fair, just, and inclusive society was a long-standing top priority for his country which aimed to be a nurturing and endearing home for its children and the generations to come.  The world was fast-changing and the children were faced both with greater opportunities to pursue their dreams and with new and evolving challenges and Singapore aimed to ensure no child was left behind and that every child could face the future with hope and confidence.  A long-established Inter-Ministerial Committee coordinated and implemented policies and programmes for children and there was collective ownership of children’s issues by the different agencies, each of which was clear about their roles and responsibilities. 

Singapore, the head of the delegation continued, strived to provide a good start for every child and believed in education as a key social enabler.  Literacy rates were high – almost 97 per cent, primary education was free of charge, and financial assistance was provided to children from low-income families.  Furthermore, the country was investing heavily in the early childhood sector and was more than quadrupling its annual spending on the preschool sector over a ten-year period to 2023.  A KidSTART programme had been introduced in 2016 to provide upstream support for health, learning, and development needs for children from low-income families.

The country was also committed to providing its children with a nurturing environment that would help them thrive and was partnering with and supporting families in their care for the children, for example through the Baby bonus cash gift and government co-savings into the Child Development Account that could be used to pay for approved child-raising uses such as preschool and medical expenses.  Several parental leave schemes were coded into the legislation and employers were strongly encouraged to introduce family-friendly work practices.  Major steps had been taken to reduce school stress, such as the revamping of the Primary School Leaving Examination which would ensure that from 2021 onwards, the children were graded on their individual performance rather than relative to the cohort.  The NurtureSG was a whole-of-nation effort to enhance the health outcomes of the children and youth while the views on health concerns gathered through the public consultation in 2016 had been integrated into an action plan that focused on the key areas of physical activity, nutrition, mental well-being, and sleep health.

Another important area of work was the support for vulnerable groups, said Mr. Bin Ibrahim Khan Surattee and mentioned the Community Care financial assistance scheme for low-income Singaporeans and permanent residents.  Additional support was being provided for children with developmental and special education needs and from 2019 onwards, Singapore would invest around US$ 42 million per year to engage its early intervention programmes and tailor them to the varied needs of children and make the fees for early intervention more affordable.  The Children and Young Persons Act was under review and the amendment bill – to be introduced in Parliament late this year or early next year – would, inter alia, raise the age limit of a child and young person from 16 to 18 years.  The Penal Code would be amended as well to ensure that children under the age of 18 were protected from physical and sexual offences.  It would introduce new offences to prevent fatal child abuse and would raise the minimum age of criminal responsibility from seven to ten years of age.

Questions by the Committee Experts – AMNA TO COMPLETE

RENATE WINTER, Committee Co-Rapporteur for Singapore, took positive note of a large number of functional civil society organizations in the country and a large number of policies and programmes that assisted families and children.  On the other hand, Singapore did not seem to take into account the Committee’s previous concluding observations and it held that the existing situation, while perhaps outside of the prescription by the Convention, worked well for the country.  In a similar vein, the country continued to maintain a large number of reservations and declarations to the Convention and did not intend to change its position on this subject.  Was there a reason to continue to maintain all the reservations?

Ms. Winter noted that the institution responsible for coordinating child-related policies should have more monitoring and control skills and commenting on the lack of a national human rights institution based on the Paris Principles, asked about the independence and objective monitoring of the children’s rights.  Was it true that families with more than two children lost their social benefits and support so generously provided by the State?  The Co-Rapporteur asked about legislation that held business sector responsible and accountable for environmental degradation and the pollution of the children’s environment.  Could the delegation confirm the definition of the child and the age of majority, including in the context of marriage?

FAITH MARSHALL-HARRIS, Committee Co-Rapporteur for Singapore, commended the significant strides Singapore had made in the jurisprudence with regards to children and family and said that many States in the common law jurisdiction had followed its lead in ground-breaking legislation in many spheres, in particular, the Children and Young Persons Act and the Women’s Charter and the establishment of family justice court in which children remained primary focus during family disputes. 

The legislation was excellent; the concern was about outcomes, the Co-Rapporteur said and asked how the amendments the Children and Young Persons enhanced the protection and rehabilitation of children, particularly those aged 16 to 18 years.  What system was in place to ensure that the population was informed of their entitlements and benefits, particularly legal aid since the court process was not affordable?

While the raising of the minimum age of criminal responsibility from seven to ten years was commendable, this still remained well below the international standard and the minimum age of 14 that the Committee recommended.  The Co-Rapporteur said she was disturbed by the concept of life imprisonment for minors and hoped that Singapore was revising this legal provision and reviewing sentences that had already been issued.  There appeared to be a disconnect in criminal legislation as far as children aged 16 to 18 years were concerned, she remarked and asked about steps taken to address this gap.

MIKIKO OTANI, Committee Co-Rapporteur for Singapore, noted with concern the reports of discrimination against certain groups of children in Singapore, including children of unmarried parents and single mothers, children of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex parents and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex children, as well as non-citizen and stateless children, who did not seem to have free and equal access to health services provided by the State.  Were there any discriminatory provisions against girls in the Administration of Muslim Law Act?  Ms. Otani commended the focus and investment into quality education and asked how school education was being used to combat discrimination.

The delegation was asked to update the Committee on the multi-disciplinary interview model for child victims of sexual offences that had been initiated in 2018 on a pilot basis, and on the concrete steps taken to ensure that the best interest of the child was the primary consideration in the ongoing review of the Children and Young Persons Act and the Penal Code.

As far as the respect for the views of the child was concerned, the Co-Rapporteur took positive note of the child-specific platforms and websites and remarked that most seemed to be designed for older children and asked about the ways in which younger children and children with disabilities could express their views and be involved in law and policy development.  How was the respect for the views of the child integrated family education and parenting programmes?

Ms. Otani remarked on the substantive increase in the number of child abuse cases in the State Party’s report and asked whether it was due to better and more effective detection or the prevalence of abuse was on the increase.  What measures were in place to prevent child abuse and neglect as well as sexual abuse and exploitation?  How can children report violence in the home, school, and communities?

JOSÉ ANGEL RODRÍGUEZ REYES, Committee Co-Rapporteur for Singapore, stressed that for the Committee, corporal punishment was deeply degrading and harmed child’s dignity and recalled that Singapore had been asked, on several occasions and by a number of United Nations bodies, to repeal this practice.

Replies by the Delegation

The delegation stressed the multi-racial and diverse character of the country which was one of the smallest and most densely populated on the planet and said that those had direct implications for the laws, policies, and practices the Government introduced to give a good start in life to each child.  This explained to a degree the reservations to the Convention which Singapore only entered if it was unable to comply with the specific provisions and kept them under continuous review.  Singapore recognized the responsibility of parents in taking care of children.  The support families received depended on the number of children they had and there were types of families which received further and deeper support.

Turning to the coordination and monitoring of the implementation of the Convention, the delegation explained that Singapore did not have a national human rights institution based on the Paris Principles and that the national mechanism for the implementation, monitoring, and reporting on the Convention on the Rights of the Child was the Inter-Ministerial Committee.  All government ministries and agencies that worked with children were represented therein and coordination was further helped by the fact that Singapore was small and agencies met often.  As for the child-rights perspective in the budgeting process, the delegation said that the programmes and initiatives for children and persons with disabilities were accorded high priority.

With regards to article 12 of the Constitution that enshrined protection from discrimination for Singaporeans, the delegation stressed that all children in Singapore, regardless of their nationality, were protected under the country’s laws.  All had access to the critical services such as health and education, while in housing, there were schemes that distinguished between nationals and non-nationals, and the authorities exercised flexibility on considering individual cases. 

All children born to Singapore mothers were entitled to the nationality without exception.  In view of the limited and yet densely populated territory, citizenship was not automatically granted to all children born in Singapore.  Citizenship applications from stateless children were very carefully considered.  The delegation stressed that equal protection extended to all children in Singapore regardless of nationality and it covered stateless children as well.  The number of stateless children was very low and had actually decreased by 11 per cent since 2016.

Earlier this month, Parliament had passed the amendment to the Penal Code which had raised the minimum age of criminal responsibility from seven to ten years of age.

The Government worked with many civil society organizations in the area of children’s rights, care, and protection and engaged directly with children, especially those who were of an age where they could significantly engage.  The Women’ Charter governed civil marriage and required that a marriage license was issued if an applicant was under the age of 18; all applicants had to go through mandatory marriage counselling.  The license was issued in exceptional circumstances only, usually when the couple was expecting a child or the child had already been born.  The number of marriages under the age of 18 was very low – only 12 in 2018.  The procedure was similar under the Muslim Law Act, whereby the qadis issued a licence after a thorough examination.

According to the law, families where parents were divorced or where one of the spouses died were considered as a family nucleus and were eligible for all social subsidies and benefits that a family was eligible for.  Schemes and financial assistance which disregarded nationality or marital status and provided support to families on the basis of need. Family Services Centres, which were funded by the Government, also provided services according to the need and regardless of nationality or marital status.

The right to freedom of assembly that was constitutionally protected but the permission was required for a demonstration to take place.  The rule applied also on a schoolchild who wanted to demonstrate against climate change in front of her school every Friday.

Singapore had strong legislation that provided for the prosecution of child sexual exploitation and all perpetrators were prosecuted to the full extent of the law.  Sweeping amendment to Penal Code that Parliament adopted earlier this month would better protect minors from sexual exploitation, including by doubling penalties for offences committed against children, introducing new offences relating to child sexual abuse and exploitation such as the offence of sexual communication, causing a child to look at a sexual image, and criminalizing child abuse material.

Life imprisonment for juveniles was only applicable for most grave crimes such as murder.  Singapore did its utmost to reduce the exposure of juveniles in conflict with the law to criminal courts and procedures and preferred to use court-appointed diversion programmes that aimed to rehabilitate and not punish.

There were multiple hotlines that could be used to report cases of violence and abuse of vulnerable persons including children and enough publicity surrounding them so that everyone knew about them.  There were child-friendly hotlines too and they were being successfully used by children.

The delegation stressed that Singapore did not consider corporal punishment to be a form of torture or inhuman and degrading treatment.  It was prohibited in child homes and allowed in schools and homes but only as a last resort.  When carried out carefully it could be very effective.  Canning could only be carried out on males and only be applied under well-defined procedures.  The Government was investing in educating parents and educators about alternative behaviour management techniques

Several Experts insisted that in the Committee’s view, corporal punishment was inhuman and degrading treatment which robbed children of their dignity and caused them harm and strongly urged Singapore to immediately prohibit this practice in all settings, especially as the research showed that physical punishment was effective only in a very short run and on very young children.

As far as the role of education in fighting discrimination was concerned, the delegation noted that discriminatory behaviour was learned, the delegation noted and said that through the school curricula students were encouraged to reflect on those issues.  The key idea was to build up the students to become responsible citizens that took action to positively influence and change the society and their environment.

Questions by Committee Experts

RENATE WINTER, Committee Co-Rapporteur for Singapore, asked the delegation to explain the barriers to accessing pre-school and early education for certain groups of parents, such as incarcerated parents for example.  What was the State doing to enable children of incarcerated parents to have sufficient contact and to successfully maintain family links?  The Co-Rapporteur was puzzled by the concepts of “caregiver fatigue and parental stress” which Singapore uses and which seemingly referred to families which had a problem with their child and thought it could not cope.  Although there were a number of programmes to support such families, it seemed that those families had “an easy way out” as they could address the court to “get rid of their child”.  Ms. Winter further raised a concern about the practice of placing children in need of care in same institutions with juveniles in conflict with the law, putting them at risk of violence and bullying and thus had a detrimental effect on such children.  Singapore was not a signatory to The Hague Adoption Convention, which was a concern since international adoption could be used for trafficking in children.

JOSÉ ANGEL RODRÍGUEZ REYES, Committee Co-Rapporteur for Singapore, remarked that 70 per cent of children with moderate or severe disabilities had problems joining mainstream schools.  The delegation was asked about breastfeeding and the access of pregnant women living with HIV/AIDS to anti-retroviral medication.  Sexual and reproductive health education was compulsory in schools, which was positive, but the programme was heavily focused on promoting abstinence.  Was information available to adolescents about the use of contraceptive and the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases?

FAITH MARSHALL-HARRIS, Committee Co-Rapporteur for Singapore, took note of the statement in the report that resources in Singapore were first allocated to meet the needs of Singaporeans, which would lead to a society of “two Singapores and two classes of children, Singaporeans and others”.  Shouldn’t the attention instead be on creating a just society for all?  And what about “the child at the door of Singapore”, the migrant children? The academic competition was intense and those who could afford it could take private lessons which put them ahead, while poor families, especially Malay lacked resources which had a direct impact on their social mobility.  There was a fear of failure in the society which led to a rise in mental health problems among adolescents and an “ideation of suicide”.  There was a growing incidence of child sexual exploitation in tourism, with a sophisticated use of the Internet to reach a greater number of children.  Juvenile justice must be brought in line with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and special attention provided under this system of justice expanded to the 16 to 18 years’ cohort.  

Replies by the Delegation

The delegation explained the issue of kindergarten access for families with a long-term illness, incarcerated parents, or parents with disabilities, and said that Singapore would increase the number of schools for such purposes from 24 to 50 by 2023.  Subsidies were granted for every child, especially for low-income families, with the provision of US$ 3 for one day of child care and US$ 1 for half a day.  Nevertheless, many children were not enrolled in pre-school, which called to attention the need for social service delivery down to the last mile as schemes were not lacking from the Government.  The delegate admitted that challenging family circumstances might contribute to children not being enrolled in schools and said that Family Service Centres and other community-based mechanisms would address these concerns.  Caregiver stress referred to caregivers to disabled children or even that of the elderly, the delegation explained and said that the issue was not easy to address and that the take-up of support services was not high.  This required an investigation into the reasons for which this was the case and steps to encourage caregivers to take up such services would be taken up further.

Support services for non-citizens were covered under various schemes with different eligibility criteria, which were provided by the Government and community partners.  Every individual was looked out for and where government services could not be provided, community partners were sought out to extend these services to all children regardless of nationality.  Subsidies in schools were differentiated on the basis of citizenship, but schemes for board coverage especially for low-income families were available at the community and neighbourhood level.  The Uplift Task Force aimed to support low-income families who were excluded from citizenship.
  
The delegation said that 80 per cent of the children with special education needs were in mainstream schools and some schools had more specialised support for children with disabilities, for instance, children with hearing loss or visual impairments.  The use of assistive technologies such as ‘text to speech’ were being introduced.  The remaining children were covered by publicly-funded special education schools that provided specialised and customised interventions and were located in close proximity to mainstream schools to facilitate exchanges of services and capacities.  Public transportation was generally accessible and by 2020 all buses would be accessible for persons with disabilities.  A code on THE accessibility of buildings including specific design guidelines had been issued and mandatorily applied to new buildings.

Cyberbullying and online harassment were prohibited by the Protection from Harassment Act, which was available online in four languages.  Parliamentary debates on the issue and information on the law had been made public in order to raise public awareness of those mechanisms.  The Legal Aid Bureau provided legal support and assistance, based on legitimate qualification for this service, and criminal legal assistance was provided to those who could not access legal support on their own when faced with prosecution by the State. 

Freedom of expression, association and lawful assembly were recognized but were not unqualified rights.  The defamation law was not unique to Singapore, said the delegation and reassured that it was not being used as a Government tool to clamp down on public dissent.  Such a law was needed to maintain balance in a multi-racial society such as Singapore.  Children were exposed to dialogue and creative writing in schools and could participate in associations and decision-making, for instance in the design of school uniforms.

The best interest of the child was preserved and maintained by families, and thus family-based care was given attention.  The early detection and prevention of child abuse were given priority and sexual education programmes helped children to understand differences between a ‘good touch’ and a ‘bad touch’.  Cases could be reported through multiple hotlines, including by children themselves.  Children could also report abuse in schools to counsellors and principals who had received adequate training.  Mandatory reporting was not necessary as such but provision for this already existed in the Penal Code for heinous cases.  Public outreach was important, including in the grassroots to report suspicion of abuse and the national family violence networking system provided preventive outreach to the community.  More professionals were being trained to detect and report abuse, while psychological and medical services including therapy and counselling were provided to children for their re-integration into families.  The Beyond Parental Control Application mechanism allowed children to access legal services in case of abuse. 

Safety for children removed from home care was essential.  The Court recommended that the parent and child would first be provided family counselling programmes and only in cases where it was absolutely necessary legal proceedings or the transfer of children to a children’s home would be undertaken.  Singapore was working on increasing options for the placement of children within family-based care environments which had seen a 46 per cent reduction in the number of children in children’s homes.

Inheritance rules for children born out of wedlock had made provisions for children to inherit property from mothers.  Such children could inherit the estate of their parents if the parents decided to provide inheritance legally.  The Committee recommendations on safeguarding the rights of children in international adoptions to prevent child trafficking were welcomed by the delegation.  Prosecution of offenders was taken seriously.  Pre-adoption briefings for those desiring to adopt children, including verification and training, notarized consent of parents and awareness of legal requirements were undertaken as safeguards.  Multi-disciplinary interview model for child victims who required forensic and other specialised services was provided under unified and integrated services available in a single location. 

In response to questions raised on sexual exploitation of children in the tourism industry, the delegation said that Singapore enjoyed one of the lowest crime rates in the world and many cases of child sexual exploitation were sought to be nipped in the bud and there was an impetus to crack down on would-be perpetrators.  Internet service providers provided information and screening of online content that went against public moral, national values, and public decency along with monitoring of online content that could be harmful to children.  Cyber wellness programs taught children to be aware of the dangers of sex predators online and equipped them with skills to keep safe in the cyberspace.  

Stateless children could access citizenship by applying for citizenship which was evaluated on the basis of a range of criteria.  Step-by-step guidance, as well as tracking of applications, were facilitated.  The Government took about 6-12 months to process applications.  Those who failed to acquire citizenship still had access to protection as well as basic healthcare in public hospitals.  The delegation responded to the question of life imprisonment of persons under 18 years of age by stating that each case was reviewed after the end of the 20-year sentence.  Security risks and rehabilitation needs were assessed.  Singapore was aware of the specific vulnerabilities of children of incarcerated parents and had instituted programmes to facilitate continual familial bonds including community-run initiatives to help inmates and their families cope with incarceration.  

The issue of child suicide was taken seriously and the police and the Civil Defence Force were equipped to identify and intervene in cases of intended suicide.  Adolescent suicide numbers were low, but each case was taken seriously.  Agencies to study suicidal and self-harm behaviours were instituted, like the Inter-Agency Working Group, which would present recommendations and findings in 2020.  Mental health challenges were considered a priority and mental health resilience building among children and youth were supported through the school system.  Social and emotional competencies were taught in the school curriculum for better responses to stress and emotional transitions and teachers were trained in early identification of signs of distress.  The REACH programme, for instance, was designed to provide support outside of the school system.  

The delegate stressed that no one was denied healthcare, including those from low-income families.  KidSTART programme provided social and health services including home visiting and pre-natal services.  A National Population Health Survey would facilitate data collection on breastfeeding and access to nutrition for children, while all mainstream schools had come on board for the Healthy Meals programs that promoted a well-balanced meal and cultivated healthy food habits. 

The Compulsory Education Act sought to build a strong national identity.  The national schools provided the same quality of education and the diverse landscape of schools provided the choices to address the issues of access between ‘the haves and have nots’.  School drop-outs were not a result of any pressure imposed by the State which paid due attention to reducing the number of children who dropped out, including through early identification of linked behaviours, the provision of counselling, as well as re-integration or re-admission into schools.  Regarding the educational outcomes of the Malay community, there was progress and success as well as some continuing challenges.  The passing rate of Malay students had increased and community partners like Mandaki, along with other programmes such as KidSTART further helped the community. 

Singapore paid close attention to the issue of the involvement of children in armed conflict and did not return children into situations in which they were at risk.  The age of enlistment in military schools was 16 and a half for volunteers and all volunteers under the age of 18 were excluded from weapons training.  Military training was for a duration of two years, which made sure that the volunteers were of age by the time they become operationally ready servicemen. 

Parents had to provide for the children, including if necessary a monthly allowance or lump sum for the maintenance of the child, regardless of the legal status of the marriage.  Divorce support services were in place for the adoption of child-sensitive approaches and parenting plans so that the interests of the child and awareness of the impacts of divorce on the latter could be integrated. 

Concluding Remarks

RENATE WINTER, Committee Co-Rapporteur for Singapore, thanked the delegation for their very detailed responses and acknowledged that a lot was being done to improve the situation of children in the country.  Ms. Winter called for more attention to the emotional and psychological needs of children and parents.

FAISHAL BIN IBRAHIM KHAN SURATTEE, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Social and Family Development and the Ministry of Education of Singapore, said that Singapore would continue to provide all children and especially the vulnerable ones with a good start in life regardless of their situation at birth.  Partnerships with civil society and non-governmental organizations that provided strong networks of support would be strengthened and the Government would pay close attention to emerging challenges such as the dangers faced in the digital environment and mental health issues.  Singapore had a unique model and principles of governance which might differ from other societies, but it had succeeded in delivering good outcomes.  It did not have all the answers but the review of practices and policies would be continued along with the adoption of best practices from other countries. 

LUIS ERNESTO PEDERNERA REYNA, Committee Chairperson, acknowledged the sincere and honest attitude of the delegation from Singapore and urged the country to take steps in the immediate future to change accepted practices of physical corporal punishment which were humiliating and degrading. 

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