At a Monday press conference for the third national reports on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), Premier Su Tseng-chang said that the administration of President Tsai Ing-wen has spared no effort over the past four years to promote human and economic rights. The reports are the first to be released under the auspices of the Executive Yuan, and the premier expressed hope that with everyone's continued hard work, Taiwan will become a better, more advanced and even more exemplary nation.
In the time since the release of Taiwan's second national reports on the two covenants in 2016, the country has used legal, legislative and other methods to achieve considerable progress in the realization of the ICCPR's and ICESCR's articles, said Premier Su. This includes the establishment of the National Human Rights Museum, last year's passage of marriage equality legislation, and the Control Yuan's upcoming formation of a National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on August 1.
The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) indicated that Taiwan's legal and administrative measures have been improved and refined in response to recommendations made by independent international committees following their reviews of the first and second national reports released in 2012 and 2016.
Over the period in which the third national reports were compiled, Taiwan made many large strides in human rights: The legal groundwork was laid for the Control Yuan's establishment of the NHRC as a means of fully developing the nation's human rights monitoring mechanism. The Act for Implementation of J.Y. Interpretation No. 748 was enacted to promote marriage equality, making Taiwan the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage. A plan to promote the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination was formulated, with the first national report and an international review to be completed within three years. As well, Taiwan passed many pieces of legislation including the Labor Incident Act, the Taxpayer Rights Protection Act, the Cultural Fundamental Act, and the Development of National Languages Act, for the purposes of improving workers' rights to take legal action in labor disputes, providing taxpayers with comprehensive rights protection, and ensuring the public's rights to multiculturalism and language equality and diversity.
A raft of laws is also being rewritten to promote judicial reform and transitional justice and improve the treatment of prison inmates, as well as to defend the rights of workers, children and youth, people with disabilities, and other vulnerable groups, the MOJ said.
The third national reports on the ICCPR and ICESCR are scheduled to be reviewed by international experts in March 2021, the MOJ added.