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Taiwan establishes human rights body

Graphic: Rosslyn Noonan at a meeting with the Control Yuan

The APF has met with members of Taiwan’s Control Yuan to discuss aspects of new legislation which gives it a human rights mandate.

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The APF has met with members with members of Taiwan's Control Yuan to discuss aspects of newly-adopted legislation which provides the Control Yuan with a full human rights mandate, effectively establishing a human rights institution as part of the constitutional body.

The Control Yuan is a constitutionally independent pillar of the state – with the same status as the judiciary, the legislature and the executive – and operates in a similar way to an Ombuds office with a good governance mandate.

Legislation to add a human rights mandate to the Control Yuan was passed in December 2019, with a new ten-member human rights commission set to begin operating later in 2020.

"This is an extremely positive development for the promotion and protection of human rights in Taiwan," said APF Special Envoy Rosslyn Noonan.

In July 2017, Ms Noonan, representing the APF, led a scoping visit to Taiwan. A key recommendation from that visit was to establish a human rights body within the Control Yuan.

"We are delighted by the Government's action to implement this recommendation and demonstrate their commitment to uphold the human rights of the people of Taiwan."

Graphic: APF representatives in discussions with members of the Control Yuan

The APF's discussions with members of the Control Yuan, held on 10 February 2020, focused on the requirements of the Paris Principles, which set out the international standards required for national human rights institutions to be independent and effective.

"Among other things, the Paris Principles require such bodies to be accessible to all people and to cooperate with civil society on human rights activities to extend their effectiveness," Ms Noonan said.

Ms Noonan and APF Legal and Policy Manager, Phillip Wardle, discussed a range of possible amendments to bring aspects of the new legislation in line with the Paris Principles.

They also highlighted ways of working that have proven effective in promoting and protecting human rights around the world and especially across the Asia-Pacific region, focusing on protection, promotion and monitoring international human rights standards.

The APF has offered to provide further advice and guidance as the Control Yuan develops a Paris Principles compliant national human rights institution.

Graphic: APF representatives take part in discussions with ANNI

During the visit, Ms Noonan and Mr Wardle took part in the biannual gathering of the Asian NGOs Network on National Human Rights Institutions (Forum-Asia ANNI), held on 11-12 February 2020.

It was hosted by Covenants Watch, the NGO that has been at the forefront of advocating for the establishment of a national human rights institution in Taiwan.

The meeting was an opportunity to discuss human rights developments across Asia, as well as the work of NHRIs in the region.

Mr Wardle also provided a briefing on the international accreditation process for NHRIs and opportunities for NGOs to contribute to that process.

"NGOs can play an important role when NHRIs are being reviewing, including by making recommendations to strengthen the independence and effectiveness of an NHRI," he said.

Date: 20 February 2020

Image credits

  1. Rosslyn Noonan at a meeting with the Control Yuan - Control Yuan, Taiwan
  2. APF representatives in discussions with members of the Control Yuan - APF
  3. APF representatives take part in discussions with ANNI - FORUM-ASIA/ANNI