Taiwan signs up for human rights

Taiwan’s legislature has ratified two of the most important international conventions for the development of human rights. On 31 March, the Legislative Yuan debated and ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights on 31 March.

“Amnesty International welcomes Taiwan’s ratification of these two covenants, which form the basis of the international human rights framework together with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” said Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International Asia-Pacific Director.

“Taiwan’s actions present a strong model for the region that economic growth and prosperity can go along hand in hand with increasing respect for human rights.”

Taiwan signed the two conventions in 1967, but the rest of the process ran up against various obstacles and has taken 42 years to complete. Taiwan’s government at the time had a poor human rights record and did not press to complete the ratification process.

The conventions languished after Taiwan withdrew from the UN in 1971. Taiwanese civil society groups launched a concerted campaign pushing for ratification in the 1990s.

Taiwan’s lawmakers ratified the conventions without reservation and passed a law on their implementation. The implementation law calls for the forming of a national human rights reporting system to regularly monitor the implementation of covenants.