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Premier touts Taiwan's human rights protections

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On the occasion of United Nations Human Rights Day, Taiwan has become the second country in Asia to announce the adoption of a National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights. Premier Su Tseng-chang said that the move underscores Taiwan's dedication to strengthening businesses' social responsibilities and creating a sustainable investment-friendly environment. Taiwan is also a nation with great respect for democracy and rights, and will continue its march forward as a nation founded on the principles of human rights.

The premier made the remarks during a Cabinet meeting Thursday during which the Ministry of Economic Affairs delivered a report on Taiwan's national action plan.

The issue of states, businesses and human rights has become an essential topic in economic and trade agreement negotiations between nations, Premier Su said. Attaching value to companies' treatment of human rights will benefit Taiwan's trade agreement talks with other countries while helping its industries integrate into global trade systems and supply chains, all of which will boost Taiwan's competitiveness. The National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights focuses on the state's duty to protect human rights, corporations' responsibility to respect human rights, and the availability of effective remedy for victims of human rights violations.

Although not a U.N. member state, Taiwan has nevertheless pledged on its own initiative to uphold international human rights conventions out of respect for these universal values, said Premier Su. Of the U.N.'s nine core international human rights instruments, five have already been incorporated into domestic law, including the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. These commitments connect Taiwan to the international human rights system and institutionalize modern norms.

In May 2019 the government also put into effect the Act for Implementation of J.Y. Interpretation No. 748, making Taiwan the first nation in Asia to pass legislation guaranteeing the right of same-sex couples to marry. The premier added that on this day in 2019, the legislature also passed the Organic Act of the Control Yuan National Human Rights Commission, which led to the establishment of the National Human Rights Commission on August 1 this year.

Furthermore, in June Taiwan announced its Third Report on the ICCPR and ICESCR, for the first time drafted and released by the Executive Yuan. The report reviewed the nation's human rights efforts over the past four years and suggested future objectives. A review committee of international human rights experts will also carry out an onsite assessment. Premier Su said that this model for upholding human rights has earned Taiwan widespread praise throughout the world.

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