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Control Yuan may be made National Human Rights Institution

2018/12/11 18:47:51

Kao Yung-cheng (高涌誠, right/CNA file photo)

Taipei, Dec. 11 (CNA) The Control Yuan is scheduled to present a report early next year on transforming it into a National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) in conformity with the Paris Principles, which provide a benchmark for such institutions, Control Yuan member Kao Yung-cheng (高涌誠) said Tuesday.

Given the principle of streamlining government operations, turning the Control Yuan -- one of the five branches of the government -- into an NHRI is more feasible than creating a new institution, according to Kao.

A consensus was reached among Control Yuan members on introducing new clauses into the Organic Law of the Control Yuan to ensure institutional compliance with the Paris Principles, Kao said at a conference hosted by the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy (TFD).

The TFD organized the conference to celebrate milestones in the history of human rights as this year marks the 70th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 20th anniversary of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, and the 25th year of the Paris Principles.

The Paris Principles set out six core criteria that an NHRI must meet for it to be effective, including a clearly defined and broad-based mandate based on universal human rights standards, autonomy from government, independence guaranteed by legislation and or constitution, adequate resources and adequate powers of investigation.

According to Huang Song-li (黃嵩立), another panelist, in addition to a Control Yuan-turned NHRI, three other proposals have been floated by the Presidential Human Rights Advisory Committee -- as a subordinate institution under the Presidential Office, or under the Executive Yuan, or one that is independent of the five branches of the government.

Concerns have been raised over whether having a NHRI subordinated under the Presidential Office or the Executive Yuan would taint the idea of the institution's autonomy as identified under the Paris Principles, said Huang, head of Covenants Watch, a non-governmental organization that focuses on international human rights covenants.

Taiwan Association for Human Rights President Geoffrey Weng (翁國彥), another panelist, said that setting up an independent NHRI is the most preferable proposal.

It is also in accordance with recommendations made by international experts when they reviewed in 2013 and 2017 Taiwan's reports on the implementation of human rights covenants which Taiwan voluntarily ratified, Weng said.

(By Shih Hsiu-chuan)