SINGAPORE: Think Centre’s Human Rights Defender Award 2011 

Think Centre
Human Rights Defender Award 2011
Jolovan Wham — Executive Director of HOME
(Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics)

This 14 January 2012, Think Centre (TC) Singapore’s oldest political association will present the Human Rights Defender award to Jolovan Wham.

In Southeast Asian countries, there are many men, women and children whose human rights are denied. In Singapore, individuals face daily discrimination, the censure of their colleagues, harassment, and isolation. Many fear the challenge to stand up and speak, to participate and contribute to Singapore’s human rights development. Yet, there are also individuals and organizations willing to act and advance the cause of human rights and human development.

Think Centre’s Human Rights Award seeks to identify and honour these individuals and organizations that strive to promote human rights practices. The AWARD hopes to foster a sense of duty to participate in the promotion and protection of human rights.

It is thus, a great honour for TC to confer the Human Rights Defender Award 2011 to Jolovan Wham, in recognition of his contribution to the protection and promotion of the rights of migrant workers.

We are inviting you to attend the Human Defenders Award 2011 to be held at Oxford Hotel Cafe*, on the 14th of January 2012 (Saturday), 4.00pm to 5.30pm.

Please kindly email us your RSVP to: by 12.00pm, 14 Jan 2012.

For more information and media enquiries:Mr Sinapan Samydorai
contact: + 65 9479 1906  email:

We look forward to your presence. Thank you.

Tan Kong Soon

Think Centre

Venue location: Oxford Hotel Cafe, Ground Floor, Address: 218 Queen Street S(188549)

Background Information

In 2003, TC awarded its first Human Rights Defender award to the late J.B Jeyaretnam, celebrated former opposition leader. In 2004, TC awarded its second Human Rights Defender award to Ron Chandran-Dudley, a tireless and devoted champion for the dignity of persons with disabilities.

Post 2011, the “new normal” recognizes human rights and workers’ rights in a “caring and sharing” ASEAN which is becoming more people-oriented. Since ASEAN began to engage with civil society, significant changes have happen. ASEAN has already set-up the AICHR (ASEAN intergovernmental commission on Human Rights). Civil society organizations based in ASEAN have set up the Task Force on ASEAN and Human Rights (TFAHR) and Task Force on ASEAN Migrant Workers (TFAMW) to engage the various ASEAN process in the protection and promotion of human rights and labour rights including the rights of the migrant workers.

Mr. Jolovan Wham: Champion of the Migrant Workers

Jolovan Wham is the Executive Director of Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (HOME), a non-governmental organization which deals with issues concerning migrant worker’s rights and welfare. After completing his undergraduate studies in social work at the National University of Singapore, he is assisting its founder and President, Bridget Lew, in spearheading and running its programmes and initiatives.

Jolovan has been challenging the way people view migrant workers as mere economic units who are simply here to drive Singapore’s economy, and to start seeing them as human beings in their own right.

“A passionate and caring activist”, says Mr. Andrew Loh from in an article highlighting the commitment of Jolovan as follows:

“Mr Wham, who joined the organisation in 2005 after graduating with a Bachelors in Social Sciences (Social Work) from the National University of Singapore, is well-known among the Migrant community and aid workers as a passionate advocate for migrant rights. He is at times the last avenue of hope for workers who face desperate situations, such as when they are being forcefully repatriated by their employers, or are abused.

Mr Wham would get calls in the wee hours of the morning from workers from Changi Airport, for example, who are being forced to board the plane, without having their disputes with their employers satisfactorily resolved. He also rescues workers from the clutches of the repatriation companies, entities which employers engage to forcefully send their workers home to their source countries.

In 2010, for example, he and several volunteers rescued Jorge, a crew member of a Taiwanese fishing vessel which had docked in Singapore waters. Jorge was not allowed to leave the ship even as he wanted to until Mr Wham intervened.”

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Document Type : Forwarded Press Release
Document ID : AHRC-FPR-002-2012
Countries : Singapore,