Taiwan may soon be the first nation in Asia to resolve to become a nuclear free nation after four decades of reliance on nuclear power.
“The clock is ticking.” Those were the words of Taiwan Democracy Watch Director Yeh Chueh-an on Feb. 4, as scores of civil society organisations in the capital, Taipei, began a countdown for a citizen-based rewriting of Taiwan’s constitution aimed at safeguarding human rights and social equity.
The Taiwan government’s plan to liberalise tariff-free imports of agricultural produce from China and other countries for processing in free economic pilot zones, which will then be exported as ‘Made in Taiwan’ items, may mean suicide for Taiwanese farmers if approved by the national legislature.
Prominent international human rights experts are calling on the Taiwan government to quickly enact a comprehensive anti-discrimination act, revamp the law on citizenship and take a wide range of other actions to curb gender discrimination.
Taiwan’s national legislature has taken a small but important step to curb rampant government surveillance of citizens and politicians through revisions of the Communication Security and Surveillance Act and the criminal code.
The Taiwan farmers victory in a landmark court case in a years-long battle has delivered a shock to government officials and given a morale boost to citizen campaigns.
Taiwan could become the first Asian state to legalise same-sex and other ``pluralistic`` forms of marriage if a wide-ranging package of changes to the civil code are approved by the national legislature.
A broad coalition of Taiwanese labour, human rights and other civil society organisations are campaigning to block legislative ratification of the controversial Cross-Strait Services Trade Agreement signed Jun. 21 by representatives of Taiwan and China.
The just-completed review of Taiwan’s initial state human rights report offers a new model featuring direct involvement by civil society organisations in examining compliance with international rights covenants.
Taiwanese activists and human rights advocates ushered in the New Year with a push to prevent a return to authoritarianism and defend procedural justice for death row prisoners in the wake of six executions just before Christmas.
Taiwan civic reform, journalist and labour organisations have mobilised against the acquisition of the large Next Media (Taiwan) group by tycoons linked with China. They say this threatens Taiwan’s news freedom and even the survival of its democratic political system.
The end of Taiwan’s most controversial death penalty case this week has “punctured the myth that the judicial system never makes mistakes in death penalty cases,” Judicial Reform Foundation (JRF) executive director Lin Feng-cheng told IPS.
Human rights activists warn that Taiwan government prosecutors have sent a message that torture is permissible by refusing to indict a former defence minister and eight other former military officers behind the wrongful execution of a young Air Force private by torturing him into confessing rape and murder.
Environmental and community activists from Taiwan will enliven the United Nations Sustainable Development Conference, dubbed Rio+20, and the parallel People’s Summit, with one of the island’s most prominent social protest music groups, the Village Armed Youth Band.
Earlier this week a coalition of rights organisations issued a ‘shadow report’ on Taiwan’s compliance with two international human rights covenants, which it incorporated into domestic law in 2009, probing the country’s track record on human rights.