Singapore asks US embassy 'not to interfere' in domestic matters after webinar with LGBT group

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Singapore, May 19 (PTI) Singapore on Wednesday asked the US embassy here not to interfere in its domestic, social and political matters after it co-hosted a webinar with a local LGBT support group earlier this week, according to a media report.

Socially conservative Singapore has strict laws regulating public assembly. Foreigners are prohibited from participating in events dealing with domestic, social and political matters.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reminded the United States embassy in Singapore that foreign missions here 'are not to interfere in our domestic, social and political matters', Channel News Asia reported.

This includes issues such as 'how sexual orientation should be dealt with in public policy', it added.

The ministry issued the statement in response to a webinar the US embassy had co-hosted with local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) non-profit organisation Oogachaga on Monday.

“These are choices for only Singaporeans to debate and decide,” the ministry said.

A spokesperson from the US embassy in Singapore said that 'the United States promotes the human rights of LGBTQI+ persons worldwide', the report said.

LGBTQI refers to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and/or queer and intersex.

'The US embassy regularly works with civil society partners on a wide range of issues to build awareness and advance the human rights of all persons,' the spokesperson said.

'The May 17 webinar marked International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, and focused on the economic advantages of LGBTQI+ equality and inclusion around the world,' it said. Homosexuality is punishable by jail in Singapore.

Despite public promises by government agencies not to criminally prosecute male homosexuality, Section 377A of the country’s penal code has prevailed since 1938 despite being infrequently used.

In March 2020, Singapore’s High Court rejected three petitions to repeal Section 377A. PTI GS NSA NSA

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