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Protecting the rights of children and the disabled

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Human rights are universal values—a common language that crosses national borders. The United Nations passed the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in 1989 and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in 2006 to safeguard the rights of children and disabled people, respectively. While not a U.N. member state, Taiwan nevertheless passed both the Act to Implement the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Implementation Act of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 2014, based on its commitment to and respect for human rights and to bring domestic laws in line with international norms. Taiwan has pledged to take concrete action to protect and enshrine the rights of these two groups.

Steps taken to implement the conventions

CRPD:
■ Promulgated the Development of National Languages Act designating Taiwan Sign Language as a national language.
■ Produced an easy read version of the national report on CRPD to guarantee the right of access to information for people with learning disabilities.
■ Published a guide on how to organize disability-inclusive meetings and events.
■ Continue to promote accessibility in buildings, transportation and roads.
■ Proposed draft amendments to the People with Disabilities Rights Protection Act to stipulate that groups and organizations must provide reasonable accommodations to meet the specific accessibility needs of disabled people when holding events.

CRC:
■ Amended the Civil Code to make the legal age of marriage for men and women consistent with the recently lowered age of majority.
■ Prohibit searches of students and their personal belongings except where expressly authorized by law or there are reasonable grounds for preventing a risk of emergency.
■ Established procedural mechanisms to conduct retrospective analyses of deaths of children under 6 and allow earlier judicial intervention in response to reports of children in potential danger. Promote a program to strengthen the social safety net that integrates online help platforms, expands social welfare centers, and employs social workers to provide services for child protection and vulnerable families.
■ Developed guidelines for the alternative care of children who are encountering difficulties living in family environments, prioritizing the support of family caregiving capacities and avoiding the placement of children outside the home when possible.
■ Amended the Juvenile Justice Act so that children age seven and over but under the age of twelve who commit a crime are no longer sent to juvenile court, but are instead managed under the education and social welfare system to prioritize guidance.

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