SINGAPORE: Human Rights lawyer M Ravi was bestowed with the International Bar Association’s award for Outstanding Contribution by a legal practitioner to human rights. The annual conference was held in Paris between Oct 29 and Nov 3.

The International Bar Association (IBA) is the world’s leading international membership organisation for legal practitioners, bar associations and law societies. Chairs of the IBA Human Rights Law Committee, Melinda Taylor and Alka Pradhan, congratulated Mr Ravi and wrote in an email that the depth of his “commitment and perseverance – in the face of very steep odds and adversity is incredibly inspiring, as is your strategies resulting in groundbreaking developments in areas that are very close to our hearts (the death penalty, decriminalisation of homosexuality and freedom of expression”.

In her speech, Ms Taylor described Mr Ravi as Singapore’s first and perhaps only ’cause’ law. She added that his “immense contributions to the field of human rights through his work in promoting LGBTQI rights. This includes mounting constitutional challenges to laws penalising same-sex relations and also advocating for LGBTQI equality in the work place”.

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In her own speech, Ms Pradhan said: “Described as “one of the foremost advocates against the death penalty worldwide,” Ravi Madasamy’s advocacy contributed to an amendment in the law on the mandatory death penalty for certain. Drug offenses. He has taken on many such cases pro bono, paying out of pocket for legal expenses and also for funeral expenses. On this issue, what Amnesty International calls Ravi Madasamy’s “rock firm, inspiring dedication to this cause” has truly made change in the world”.

When asked for his thoughts on the award, Mr Ravi said: “I feel truly honoured to be the recipient of this rare award. It has come at a time when I’m going through so much of challenges in Singapore and the award has certainly uplifted my spirit. It is great to know that IBA is appreciative of my contribution to human rights in Singapore in the course of my legal practice over a span of 20 years. I wish to dedicate this award to my late mother who had shown me the path and also dedicate the award to all the human rights activists in Singapore who have worked with me over the years”.

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He continued: “For the moments of heartbreak, tears and hopelessness, receiving this award makes my journey completely worthwhile even if it means losing my liberty along the way; it has been a journey worth taking”.

“The IBA Award opens more doors for me to work with international organisations and charities who might hear of my work and collaborate. It also gives people a perspective of my struggles”, Mr Ravi added.

Sharing that he was deeply honoured and humbled to receive this award from the IBA, Mr Ravi added that he “least expected to win the award when there are so many other human rights lawyers around the world who do some amazing work and who make huge sacrifices in their career in furtherance of human rights”.

 

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The human rights lawyer said that his work has now expanded to include human rights due diligence on companies and climate justice. “I am currently running an international law practice, M.Ravi Law, which is headquartered in Bangkok providing legal services in the region. The firm has a presence in Myanmar and Nigeria as well as alliances in Malaysia and Singapore. Apart from that, I’m working on environmental, social and governance ( ESG) consultancy work in Singapore with a group of ESG professionals. In the last four years, I have been actively involved in the ESG sphere where I can bring my human rights law expertise into it. It is exciting to see the interaction between human rights and business and how ESG can play a part in optimising the client’s business”, Mr Ravi said. /TISG