Mar 04, 2013

Taiwan: Experts Praise Human Rights Development

A group of overseas experts praised Taiwan’s human rights development efforts, offering observations and recommendations on areas of further improvement.  

Below is an article published by Taiwantoday:

Photo by @Chien Liang Lien

 “The [ROC] Government and people of Taiwan have demonstrated exemplary commitment to the process of monitoring compliance with relevant human rights obligations,” the experts said in their 82-point findings paper.

Invited by the government to review the country’s first national human rights report Feb. 25-27, the 10 experts also held in-depth discussions with a large number of officials and representatives from a wide range of civil society groups.

Published in April last year by a team of law professionals reporting to the Presidential Office Human Rights Consultative Committee, the three-part report outlines Taiwan’s human rights practices, including access to affordable education, freedom of speech, gender equality measures and protection of property rights.

The report showcases government efforts in protecting human rights and bringing the country’s law 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 the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

The experts described Taiwan’s human rights report as “valuable and detailed,” and following international precedents. In addition, they were impressed by the progress made since 1987, when Taiwan emerged from an era of martial law.

“Developments in recent years have greatly accelerated this progress towards a society governed by human rights and the rule of law,” they said.

Looking forward, the panelists recommended setting a specific time frame for the establishment of an independent national human rights commission in accordance with the Paris Principles Relating to the Status of National Human Rights Institutions, adopted by the U.N. General Assembly in 1993.

Such a commission, they said, would carry out advisory, monitoring and investigative functions in the areas of civil, cultural, economic, political, and social rights.

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

The experts 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 the 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 U.N. Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and Heisoo Shin, incumbent member of UNCESCR. (JSM)