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Premier Su: Secure indigenous land rights for a brighter future

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At the Cabinet's weekly meeting Thursday, Premier Su Tseng-chang received a briefing from the Council of Indigenous Peoples on the regulation and protection of land rights for indigenous peoples. In recent years, the premier said, the government has addressed various matters concerning traditional territories and lands reserved for indigenous peoples by passing specific legislation to handle each issue. For instance, the Executive Yuan today passed a draft bill on the management and use of lands reserved for indigenous peoples. This draft bill is intended to establish a robust legal basis and management system to resolve longstanding problems regarding the substantial loss of indigenous land rights and a shortage of building land.

The government places great importance on indigenous rights, the premier said, and in recent years has employed budgets, laws, policies and other tools to promote this cause. In terms of budgeting, the government's budget for indigenous issues has expanded greatly from NT$8.7 billion (US$269.2 million) in 2016 to almost NT$12.4 billion (US$433.2 million) this year. On the legislative front, the government has not only passed the Indigenous Languages Development Act—which designated various indigenous languages as national languages—but also passed amendments to the Education Act for Indigenous Peoples, which expanded the recipients of indigenous education from indigenous students to all students across the nation, advancing public recognition and respect for indigenous peoples.

Regarding land rights protection, the premier said it is not possible to cover all management issues with one single indigenous land law. The government is therefore employing a multipronged legislative approach, including by establishing a law on enforcing logging ban compensations for lands reserved for indigenous peoples, which has already initiated compensation procedures; amending the Slopeland Conservation And Utilization Act, to restore these reserved lands directly to the indigenous peoples; and passing today's draft bill on the management and use of lands reserved for indigenous peoples, which will create a more comprehensive legal basis and management system.

The premier pledged that the government will continue working hard to ensure a brighter future for all the peoples of this land.

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