Taiwan
Head of state
Ma Ying-jeou
Head of government
Wu Den-yih
Death penalty
retentionist

Taiwan handed down more death sentences in 2011 than in any year in the past decade, despite stating that its long-term goal was abolition of the death penalty. Restrictions on freedom of assembly remained, with no progress made towards a relaxation of existing, stringent laws. The authorities did little to protect the housing rights of farmers across the island, at times colluding in their eviction.

Background

In 2009, Taiwan ratified the ICCPR and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Despite passing an Implementation Act, which required the government to bring all laws, regulations, ordinances and administrative measures in line with the covenants before 10 December 2011, Taiwan had yet to amend or abolish the majority of those not in compliance.

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Death penalty

Five people were executed on 4 March – just one month after President Ma apologized for the 1997 execution of an innocent man. As of November, there were 55 inmates with confirmed death sentences.

  • On 28 July, the Supreme Court rejected Chiou-Ho-shun’s final appeal against his death sentence. On 25 August, the Prosecutor General rejected a request to seek an extraordinary appeal for a retrial. Chiou Ho-shun had been sentenced to death for robbery, kidnapping, blackmail and murder in 1989. With no material evidence, his conviction was based on confessions he and co-defendants alleged were extracted through torture. His case had bounced between the High Court and the Supreme Court for more than two decades.
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Justice system

As a step towards ensuring judicial independence and transparency, the Legislative Yuan passed the Judges Act in June to make it easier to remove judges found to be incompetent or corrupt.

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Freedom of expression and assembly

Despite continued public demand, there was no progress on the government’s proposal to amend the Assembly and Parade Law. The law allows police to forcibly disperse peaceful protesters, and places other restrictions on peaceful demonstrations.

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Housing rights

Government officials allowed – and sometimes helped – developers to evict farmers across the country without due process including by failing to provide alternative accommodation or adequate compensation.

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Migrants’ rights

Migrant workers were unable to freely change employer. Domestic migrant workers and care-givers were often forced to work without adequate rest. The media exposed abuse and exploitation of migrant workers by government officials and celebrities.

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