Skip to main content

Press releases Special Procedures

UN experts deplore execution of Malaysian national in Singapore

08 July 2022

GENEVA (8 July 2022) – UN human rights experts* today deplored the execution of Kalwant Singh a/l Jogindar Singh, a Malaysian national convicted of drug offences in Singapore.

Singh’s death sentence was enforced early in the morning on 7 July after an application for a stay of execution was dismissed on Wednesday, 6 July. He was charged with trafficking and possession for the purpose of trafficking of diamorphine and convicted and sentenced to death by the High Court of Singapore on 1 June 2016. The conviction was upheld by the Court of Appeal on 10 March 2017.

“We strongly deplore the execution of Mr. Kalwant Singh a/l Jogindar Singh and deeply regret that our calls for the death sentence imposed against him to be commuted remained once again unheard,” the experts said.

“We have repeatedly expressed our concerns at the increase of executions in Singapore, including in relation to Malaysian nationals, like Mr. Kalwant Singh a/l Jogindar Singh, who belong to an ethnic minority,” the UN experts said. “A disproportionate number of minority persons were being sentenced to the mandatory death penalty in Singapore,” they said.

“We reiterate – States that have not yet abolished the death penalty may only impose it for the ‘most serious crimes’, meaning intentional killing, which remains the only category of offense for which the death penalty can be imposed under international law.”

Drug offences do not meet this threshold, the experts said. “There is no evidence that the use of the death penalty has a deterrent effect on crimes,” they noted. They also stressed that the mandatory use of the death penalty constitutes an arbitrary deprivation of life, where it is imposed without considering the defendant’s personal circumstances or the circumstances of the particular offence.

“We urge the Government of Singapore to abolish the death penalty expeditiously and, pending abolition, to impose a moratorium on its use. As a first step and without delay, they should review the scope of its application, to ensure that it is only imposed in cases involving intentional killing,” they said.

“We stand ready to support and to assist all the relevant authorities in any effort in this regard.”

The experts have written to the Government of Singapore to express their concerns.

*The experts: Morris Tidball-Binz, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; Working Group on arbitrary detention, Ms. Miriam Estrada-Castillo (Chair-Rapporteur), Mr. Mumba Malila (Vice-Chair), Ms. Elina Steinerte, Mr. Matthew Gillett, Ms. Priya Gopalan; Mr. Diego García-Sayán, Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers; Mr. Fernand de Varennes, Special Rapporteur on minority issues.

The Experts are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent of any government or organisation and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights, Country Page - Singapore

For further information and media requests, please contact: Alessandro Marra (+41 22 928 93 21/ [email protected]) or write to [email protected].

For media enquiries regarding other UN independent experts, please contact Renato de Souza (+41 76 764 2602 / [email protected]) or Dharisha Indraguptha (+41 79 506 1088 / [email protected]).

Follow news related to the UN's independent human rights experts on Twitter @UN_SPExperts.

Concerned about the world we live in?
Then STAND UP for someone's rights today.
and visit the web page at