Taiwan: Initial State Report on ICCPR & ICESCR

Press release

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the Taiwan Association for Human Rights (TAHR) take note of the long awaited initial state report on ICCPR and ICESCR released by the Taiwanese government on April 20th 2012. We welcome the fact that the government is going to organize an international panel to examine the state report. However, FIDH and TAHR call upon the government to consult civil society both at national and international level in order to ensure that the eventual reviewing mechanism is fully independent, and effective.

Since 1971, Taiwan has not been recognized as a United Nations (UN) member State, and has therefore had no access to existing UN human rights mechanisms, including its treaty bodies. The fact that Taiwan has, for the past five years, ratified several international human rights treaties, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), is a positive move. However, it is now high time for the government to abide by its international human rights obligations. The lack of access to the UN-system means that Taiwan must necessarily begin by setting-up an alternative reviewing system to assess and monitor progress and gaps in the implementation of the above-mentioned treaties, as well as other possible legal reforms.

FIDH and TAHR therefore call upon the Government of Taiwan:

  • To develop a comprehensive human rights framework in Taiwan as it had pledged in a Human Rights Policy White Paper in 2002. This should include a timetable for ratifying other core UN human rights conventions.
  • To establish an independent reviewing mechanism, provided with necessary resources and international expertise, as well as transparent operational procedures, in close consultation with civil society organizations. This mechanism should have the power to make concluding observations on the government’s compliance with the treaties, follow up on its recommendations and ensure the harmonization of national legislation with the international human rights instruments and their effective implementation.

The release by Taiwan of its first human rights report is a historical opportunity for the country to demonstrate its real intention to adhere to international human rights standards. However the report’s publication should be followed by concrete steps to make it possible for it to be examined by an independent body, said Mrs. Souhayr Belhassen, FIDH president.

Taiwanese human rights organizations, including TAHR, will soon release a shadow report to present the views of the civil society.

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