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Taiwan unveils first national human rights action plan


Premier Su Tseng-chang on Thursday received a Ministry of Justice briefing on Taiwan's first national human rights action plan. Taiwan prides itself as a nation founded on human rights, the premier said. The plan demonstrates that Taiwan is willing, of its own accord, to implement and commit to the obligations of international human rights conventions, and furthermore respond to issues of concern expressed by the international community and the general public. This will raise human rights standards in Taiwan even higher.

The premier pointed out that, to date, Taiwan has created its own laws to implement five of the United Nations' nine core international human rights instruments—the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women; Convention on the Rights of the Child; and Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The government has also issued national reports addressing the implementation of these human rights conventions and invited international human rights experts to Taiwan to conduct reviews. This model of self-initiated commitment combined with reviews conducted locally has attained widespread international recognition.

The new plan covers eight major human rights issues and 154 action projects. To reconcile and align the nation's policies to human rights values, the plan lays out open and transparent procedures and involves widespread participation by government, civic groups, and scholars and experts from all sectors. Aside from striving for equality and nondiscrimination against vulnerable groups such as children and youth, the elderly, mentally or physically disabled people, indigenous peoples, migrant workers and the LGBTI community, the plan presents concrete actions and performance indicators for new and emerging human rights issues, such as climate change, digital human rights, the closely watched issue of housing justice, and stronger guarantees of the right to life. Such concrete actions include recent draft amendments to the Climate Change Response Act, efforts to prevent digital technologies from violating human rights, roadway maintenance to ensure transportation safety, and the rollout of the expanded rental subsidy program. These are all policies that align closely with human rights, the premier said.

In June 2020, Taiwan released its third national reports on implementation of two international human rights covenants under the auspices of the Executive Yuan for the first time. In December that same year, the Cabinet approved the National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights. This year, the Cabinet adopted the first action plan on human rights in the fishery industry on April 21, authorized the establishment of the Department of Human Rights and Transitional Justice under the Executive Yuan on April 22, and approved the first national action plan on human rights Thursday. All of these concrete examples demonstrate Taiwan's determination to put human rights into action.

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