On April 20, the ROC published its first official report on human rights practices prepared in accordance with U.N. standards. The landmark document, which highlights central government efforts to improve the lives of Taiwan’s 23 million people, is a notable accomplishment worthy of international recognition.
Prepared by a committee of legal experts, the three-part report outlines Taiwan’s human rights practices, including protection of property rights, gender equality measures, freedom of speech and access to affordable education. It is also an important example of the government’s latest move to adhere to the U.N. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights since their ratification by the Legislature March 31, 2009.
Now that the pacts are legally binding in the ROC, all of the country’s laws that run counter to the spirit contained therein are being amended. In addition, civil servants have been directed to learn the content of these pacts by heart as they stand on the front line when it comes to handling cases potentially involving the infringement of human rights.
An equally important advance in human rights on the island is being made through the work of the Human Rights Consultative Committee. The body, which is under the Office of the President, is identifying infringements, advising how best to correct any problems and taking all necessary steps to ensure the rights of those residing in Taiwan remain protected.
Chaired by ROC Vice President Vincent C. Siew, the committee comprises Premier Sean C. Chen, Judicial Yuan Vice President Su Yeong-chin, Control Yuan Vice President Chen Jinn-lih and 14 private citizens. These members of the public are experts in human and international rights, as well as the rights of women, children, indigenous peoples and the disabled.