Feb 25, 2013

Taiwan: Human Rights Progress Going Forward

International experts have reviewed the government’s first human rights report prepared in accordance with U.N. standards.

Below is an article published by Taiwan Today:

ROC President Ma Ying-jeou said Feb. 24 that having international experts review the government’s first human rights report prepared in accordance with U.N. standards is a milestone in Taiwan societal development.

This openness demonstrates the government’s adherence to international human rights practices and commitment to promoting and practicing democracy, liberty, human rights and the rule of law, Ma said.

The president made the remarks at a welcoming ceremony for 10 overseas panelists invited to appraise the report. Also attending were Vice President Wu Den-yih and Justice Minister Tseng Yung-fu.

Ma said the report, published in April last year, showcases government efforts in protecting human rights and bringing the country’s laws in line with international practice. It also builds upon the nation’s 2009 ratification of the U.N. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Prepared by a team of legal experts reporting to the Presidential Office Human Rights Consultative Committee, the three-part document outlines Taiwan’s human rights practices, including access to affordable education, freedom of speech, gender equality and protection of property rights.

Ma said although the ROC Constitution was implemented in 1947, the nation’s democracy is still maturing due to 38 years of martial law. He urged the experts to take this fact into account when offering advice and feedback on government human rights policymaking.

“As a legal academic of international standing, I am deeply gratified by how far we have come in creating a country that cherishes freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law as prescribed in the ROC Constitution,” Ma said.

The panelists, who will review the report Feb. 25-27, are also set to meet with government officials and representatives of nongovernmental organizations during the process before publishing their findings March 1.

All recommendations will be assessed under the Ministry of Justice’s soon-to-be-established monitoring and improvement mechanism, which aims to ensure further human rights progress in Taiwan going forward.

The panelists are Philip G. Alston, law professor at New York University and co-chair of the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice; Nisuke Ando, director of Kyoto University Human Rights Research Institute; Theodoor Cornelis van Boven, professor emeritus of international law at Maastricht University; Virginia Bonoan-Dandan, former U.N. special reporter on migrant human rights; Jerome A. Cohen, NYU law professor and co-director of the school’s U.S.-Asia Law Institute; Mary Shanthi Dairiam, member of the U.N. Development Programme Gender Equality Task Force; Asma Jahangir, head of the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan; Manfred Nowak, professor of international law and human rights at the University of Vienna; Eibe Riedel, former member of the U.N. Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; and Heisoo Shin, incumbent member of UNCESCR.