Though Han Hui Hui’s speech at human rights summit in Paris received warm applause, netizens have mixed reactions

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Photo: Facebook screengrab

#ReturnOur CPF activist Han Hui Hui’s 4-minute spoke at the Human Rights Defenders World Summit about the lack of human rights in Singapore last week.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)’s biography of Ms. Han begins this way: “Ms. Han Hui Hui is a human rights defender and blogger. Through her blog, she highlights issues relating to the right to health, housing and a good standard of living, as well as children’s rights, and documents violations of human rights in Singapore. She organises programmes and events aimed at raising awareness of the right to freedom of expression within Singapore.”

The above entry is from 2015 and suggests that the human rights community has taken Ms. Han seriously for several years now.

Read related: #ReturnOurCPF activist Han Hui Hui to attend Human Rights Summit in Paris

She uploaded a video of her speech on her Facebook page here. Ms. Han starts out calmly enough, but her tone grows louder and more impassioned as the speech goes on, and the audience certainly received her warmly, getting her speech with considerable applause at the end.

Ms. Han spoke about how restrictive the country’s laws are against human rights in the sense that free speech and remarks critical of the government are curtailed.

Oddly enough, she begins her speech exposing “government NGOs” whose purpose is to purportedly show organizations in the region, and even worldwide, that the situation in Singapore is good. However, there is no such thing as a “government NGO,” since NGO stands for “non-governmental organization.”

She also talked about laws in Singapore that she felt were against human rights, such as the Protection from Harassment Act, the Public Order Act, the Administration of Justice (Protection) Act and others, and invited the audience to visit her Facebook page if they wanted to learn more.

While Ms. Han received warm applause at the summit, the reaction back home was less than warm. Some Singaporeans praised Ms. Han for her courage in speaking out against what she considered to be oppressive laws.

However, others seem to feel that there was little sense to what she said.

Some even questioned her citizenship, and therefore her right to speak against Singaporean laws.

To clarify, while Ms. Han was born in Malaysia, she is a Singaporean citizen.