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Taiwan 2023

Amendments to the Immigration Act failed to include protections against the refoulement of asylum seekers. Legal reforms provided greater protections for Indigenous Peoples. Most limitations on transnational same-sex marriage were removed. Legal reforms granted the authorities increased powers to prevent the online sharing of non-consensual sexual content. The government failed to commit to a deadline to phase out fossil fuels.

Refugees’ and migrants’ rights

In May, parliament passed an amendment to the Immigration Act which may provide improved rights to certain categories of foreign workers to work, education and family reunification. However, Taiwan still lacked an asylum system and the government ignored recommendations from civil society groups to enshrine in law protections against the refoulement of asylum seekers. It also increased the fines for migrant workers who flee their employers.

Indigenous Peoples’ rights

Parliament adopted an amendment to the Mining Act in May requiring mining companies to obtain free, prior and informed consent from Indigenous Peoples before conducting mining activities on or near their lands. Also in May, parliament adopted the long-awaited Health of Indigenous Peoples Act, which increased the budgets for healthcare for Indigenous People and required the government to consult with them when making policies affecting their health.

LGBTI people’s rights

In January, the government announced a policy change granting all transnational same-sex couples the right to marry in Taiwan, except for couples where one partner is Taiwanese and the other from the People’s Republic of China.

A legal amendment to a law on same-sex marriage adopted by parliament in May allowed couples in same-sex marriages to adopt children who are not biologically related to either spouse, removing an earlier barrier which restricted adoption to children related to one spouse.

Sexual and gender-based violence

In July, parliament strengthened legal protections for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence through an amendment to the Sexual Assault Crime Prevention Act. This gave police and other government agencies powers to require internet platforms, service and application providers to block access to or remove non-consensual sexually explicit images and videos in order to protect survivors whose intimate content is shared without consent.1 Amendments to other laws relating to sexual and gender-based violence were also adopted enabling victims to file complaints with relevant authorities and requiring local governments to provide mental health services to them. However, the amendments failed to adopt a consent-based definition of rape, as required by human rights standards.

Right to a healthy environment

Several climate mitigation policies were adopted by the government, including the Climate Change Response Act, enacted in January, which placed legal obligations on the government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% from 2005 levels by 2050.

In April, the government launched a “12 Key Strategies” action plan to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 through industry upgrades, application of carbon capture and storage technologies and decarbonizing energy production. However, the government did not set out a timeline for fulfilling its commitment to phase out the use of fossil fuels.

The state-owned company CPC Corporation continued to pursue oil exploration and extraction activities overseas including in Australia, where it acquired an interest in the Dorado and four other oilfields off Western Australia.

  1. “Taiwan: A step forward in ending online sexual violence – the enactment of Article 13 of the Sexual Assault Crime Prevention Act”, 17 August (Chinese only)