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Taiwan consultations reveal strong support for a rights body

Graphic: APF and Forum Asia-ANNI meet with the Vice President of Taiwan

Discussions with a broad range of stakeholders in Taiwan have highlighted strong support for the establishment of a human rights body.


Discussions with a broad range of stakeholders in Taiwan have highlighted strong support for the establishment of a human rights institution.

The APF, in partnership with Forum Asia-ANNI, conducted a week-long scoping visit to Taiwan in July 2017.

The three-member team held consultations with civil society organisations, senior officials in government agencies and representatives of political parties, as well as with representatives of the Judicial Yuan, the Control Juan and the Legislative Yuan.

"Taiwan has taken major steps to strengthen respect for human rights by domesticating international human rights covenants and conventions and by establishing a process to review their implementation," said APF NHRI Expert Rosslyn Noonan.

"And yet, as in all societies, significant human rights challenges remain," she said.

Those consulted felt that a human rights institution would assist them to better tackle pressing and persistent human rights challenges, Ms Noonan said.


Graphic: APF and Forum Asia-ANNI meet with representatives of the Control Yuan


The key recommendation of the scoping visit team was that consideration be given to establishing a human rights body within the Control Yuan, which operates in a similar way to an Ombuds office.

"This means that the Control Yuan would add a human rights mandate to the good governance mandate it currently holds, with both of equal significance," Ms Noonan said.

However, she noted that a number of legislative changes would need to be made in order to ensure that a human rights body within the Control Yuan was compliant with the standards for independence set out in the Paris Principles.

"The Paris Principles require such bodies to be accessible to all people and to cooperate with civil society on human rights activities to extend their effectiveness," Ms Noonan said.

"Should a human rights body be established within the Control Yuan, we would respectfully suggest that consideration be given to interpreting in English the Mandarin Chinese term for the Control Yuan as "Guardian Yuan", which we understand needs no change to the original Chinese."

The scoping visit team, which included Sushil Pyakurel and Agantaranansa Juanda from Forum Asia-ANNI, was ably supported by Covenants Watch, a Taiwan-based coalition of human rights NGOs, lawyers, academics and activists.

Date: 1 September 2017


Image credits

  1. APF and Forum Asia-ANNI meet with the Vice President of Taiwan - APF
  2. APF and Forum Asia-ANNI meet with representatives of the Control Yuan - APF