Certain restrictions on Indigenous peoples’ hunting rights were found to be unconstitutional. Legal protection for Indigenous peoples remained inadequate, including against mining and other commercial operations. Despite a court ruling permitting the marriage of a Taiwan-Macau same-sex couple, limitations on same-sex marriage remained in place. Covid-19 orders discriminated against migrant workers.
Indigenous peoples’ rights
In May, the Constitutional Court ruled that the Controlling Guns, Ammunition and Knives Act and the Wildlife Conservation Act were partly unconstitutional as they disproportionately restricted the cultural and hunting rights of Indigenous peoples. However, the court found that other restrictions on hunting were constitutional, such as the requirement that Indigenous people obtain approval from the authorities days before any hunting activities.
In September, the Supreme Administrative Court revoked the extension of the Asia Cement Corporation’s mining permit in Taroko people’s traditional territory. After litigation lasting four years, the court found that the Taroko people living near to the mining site had not been adequately consulted on the project. However, concerns remained that existing legislation provided inadequate protection for Indigenous peoples against mining and other commercial activities. Among the problems was Article 13 of the Mining Act, under which existing mining permits remained valid and mining could continue while mining companies applied for permit extensions.1
LGBTI people’s rights
The Taipei High Administrative Court issued a judgment in May on transnational same-sex marriage that allowed a Taiwan-Macau same-sex couple to marry in Taiwan. However, the judgment only applied to same-sex couples where the Macau citizen is a long-term resident of Taiwan. In the meantime, the Ministry of Interior’s interpretation of the relevant article in the Act Governing the Choice of Law in Civil Matters Involving Foreign Elements remained valid. Under this interpretation, transnational same-sex marriage between Taiwanese citizens and foreigners was only permitted where the spouse was from a country where same-sex unions had been legalized.2
In June, following an outbreak of Covid-19 cases among migrant workers, the Miaoli County government issued an order confining all migrant workers in the county to their dormitory buildings except during working hours. The order, which affected more than 22,000 people, discriminated against migrant workers by severely limiting their freedom of movement. It was lifted after three weeks.3
In September, the Prosecutor-General made an extraordinary appeal against a court decision not to sentence convicted arsonist Tang Jing-Hua to death. The appeal argued that the court’s reference to Taiwan’s obligations under the ICCPR as a reason not to impose the death penalty in this case was a misinterpretation of that document. There was no progress towards abolition of the death penalty during the year and courts continued to impose death sentences.
- Taiwan: A victory! The Government of Taiwan should fulfil the consent rights of Indigenous people, 17 September (Chinese only)
- Taiwan: The Taipei High Administrative Court pronounces a ground breaking judgment on transnational same-sex marriage, 6 May (Chinese only)
- Taiwan: The Covid-19 preventive measures should avoid discrimination on the specific ethnic groups, 10 June (Chinese only)