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(Mar 15, 2012) On March 9, 2012, it was reported that Taiwan legal experts and activists have called for government fast-tracking of amendments to Taiwan's laws to bring them into conformity with the United Nations' International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Taiwan's legislature ratified the two human rights instruments on March 31, 2009. On the same date, the Law on the Enforcement of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (hereinafter Enforcement Law) was adopted by the legislature, making the covenants legally binding in Taiwan. (Activists Urge ROC to Comply with UN Human Rights Covenants, TAIWAN TODAY (Mar. 12, 2012); Wendy Zeldin, Taiwan: Two International Human Rights Covenants Ratified, GLOBAL LEGAL MONITOR (Apr. 15, 2009); International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Dec. 16, 1966, in force on Mar. 23, 1976), Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) website; International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Dec. 16, 1996, in force on Jan. 3, 1976), OHCHR website.)

Attorney Kao Ying-cheng, a member of the nongovernmental Judicial Reform Foundation, stated that almost 30% of Taiwan's laws deemed to be in contradiction of the covenants have yet to be revised, even though all the relevant laws were supposed to be amended within two years of December 10, 2009, based on the Enforcement Law. (Activists Urge ROC to Comply with UN Human Rights Covenants, supra; Enforcement Law For International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 6859 THE GAZETTE OF THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT 17-19 (Apr. 22, 2009), available at Global Legal Information Network, GLIN ID No. 217785.)

Kao pointed out that "[s]ome recent court rulings have even applied laws made outdated by the domestic implementation law. (Activists Urge ROC to Comply with UN Human Rights Covenants, supra.) He cited in particular a well-known case involving the Assembly and Parade Act. A professor was prosecuted on the basis of an article of the Act that contravened the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Although the professor was found not guilty by both the Taipei District Court and the Taiwan High Court, Kao argues that "[t]he high court should have rejected the case outright as having no basis in law, … . By failing to do so it missed the opportunity to deliver on the government vow to protect human rights." (Id.)

A Ministry of Justice report issued on December 16, 2011, indicated that 187, or 71%, of the 263 laws and decrees and administrative measures to be reviewed for conformity with the two Covenants had been sorted out by December 9, 2011, while 76 items, or 29%, remained to be handled. Among the 76 are 54 instances of laws (50 of which have already been sent to the legislature for deliberation), 21 decrees, and 1 administrative measure. (Ministry of Justice Explanation of the Situation of Review of Laws and Ordinances and Administrative Measures in Violation of the Two Covenants [in Chinese] (last updated Dec. 16, 2011), Taiwan Ministry of Justice website.)

Ma Ying-jeou, President of the Republic of China (on Taiwan), stated recently, moreover, that this year the government would publish its first report in accordance with the two human rights treaties. (Rachel Chan, Ma Highlights Taiwan's Human Rights Efforts, TAIWAN TODAY (Mar. 7, 2012).)

Author: Wendy Zeldin More by this author
Topic: Human rights More on this topic
Jurisdiction: Taiwan More about this jurisdiction

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Last updated: 03/15/2012