Protests Against Singapore's Ms. Theo Li Ann

IGLHRC's letter to the European Union Special Representative on Human Rights

Dear Mr. Stavros Lambrinidis,

I am writing from the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC). We have offices and staff working on the human rights of LGBT people in Asia, Africa, Caribbean, Latin America, and the Middle East.

IGLHRC has learned that the European Union Delegation in Singapore has invited Ms. Theo Li Ann to speak at the Human Rights Day event being hosted by the European External Action Services (EEAS-Singapore). Ms. Theo has publicly vilified gay people, and advocates for discrimination against them and the criminalization of adult consensual same sex relations.

The European Union's Charter of Fundamental Rights explicitly prohibits discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation as does Article 13 of the European Commission Treaty. It is surprising that the EU Delegation in Singapore selected Ms. Thio to participate in a Human Rights Day event.

Several Singapore LGBT activists have expressed their dismay and concerns to Mr. Bernhard Faustenhammer of the EEAS-Singapore, providing detailed reasons for not wanting Ms. Thio to be included in the EEAS program. However, Mr. Faustenhammer has disregarded their concerns and defended Ms. Thio's right to freedom of expression. This is quite ridiculous given that she is to speak on Human Rights Day! Here's an example of her position on gay rights.

“Demands for homosexual rights are political claims of a narrow interest group masquerading as legal entitlements ... Homosexual activists try to infiltrate and highjack the noble cause of human rights. You cannot make a human wrong a human right ... sodomy between homosexuals is not a private act without public consequences and it’s not a victimless crime because oral and anal sex spread HIV and AIDS…. Anal penetrative sex is inherently damaging to the body and is a misuse of organs.”

IGLHRC requests that Ms. Theo Li Ann be taken off the EEAS-Singapore program. Her participation will legitimize homophobia and contradict the EU's own position on non-discrimination. It will send a negative message to the LGBT communities in Singapore.


Grace Poore
Regional Program Coordinator for Asia and Pacific Islands