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Asia Pacific Forum representative Ms. Rosslyn Noonan and experts from FORUM-ASIA visit the Control Yuan

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Asia Pacific Forum representative Ms. Rosslyn Noonan and experts from FORUM-ASIA visit the Control Yuan

Ms. Rosslyn Noonan, representative from the Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions, and two other experts from FORUM-ASIA, Mr. Sushil Pyakurel and Mr. Agantaranansa Juanda visited the Control Yuan on July 26, to learn about its powers, functions, human rights mandate and the plan to establish a “Paris Principles” compliant national human rights commission.

Ms. Noonan and company were invited to Taiwan by the local NGO Covenants Watch from July 24 to 28, during which they met and consulted with the relevant stakeholders to discuss a viable option for establishing a national human rights institution (NHRI) fully compliant with the “Paris Principles” and provide their advisory opinions to the ROC Government.

During the meeting, President Chang Po-ya pointed out that the Control Yuan is a constitutional body under the ROC five-power system. It is the national ombudsman institution and a voting member of the International Ombudsman Institute. The Control Yuan has mandates both to promote good governance and protect people’s rights. In practice, the Control Yuan has already performed the duties of a NHRI. Particularly, since 2009, the ROC has ratified five international human rights conventions, and the Control Yuan is able to monitor their domestic implementation based on these norms to safeguard human rights. In recent years, the Control Yuan has redressed many major violation of human rights cases.

In 2015, the Control Yuan deliberated on reinforcing its statutory duties to better protect and promote human rights, and drafted the “Organic Law of the National Human Rights Commission of the Control Yuan” in December. It was brought forth for discussion at the Presidential Office Human Rights Consultative Committee the following July, during which the proposal was supported by many committee members. The Control Yuan shall continue to actively participate in the discussion of this issue.

The visiting entourage included Prof. Huang Song-lih, Mses. Huang Yi-bee and Tsai Yi-ching of Covenants Watch and Ms. Chiu E-ling of Taiwan Association for Human Rights. President Chang was accompanied by Vice President Sun Ta-chuan, Member Chen Hsiao-hung, Secretary-General Fu Meng-jung and Deputy Secretary-General Hsu Hai-chuan. The aforementioned personnel, joined by Control Yuan departmental chiefs and senior officers, later convened in a group consultation session to further discuss on the topic.

In a period of five days, Ms. Noonan and the two experts consulted extensively with the Legislative Yuan, the Judicial Yuan, the Control Yuan, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Justice, several local NGOs and legal scholars, after which they briefed ROC Vice President Chen Chien-jen on their observations and preliminary findings. In the press conference on July 28, the experts concluded that at the moment there is no NHRI in Taiwan that is fully compliant with the “Paris Principles”. Taking into consideration the unique ROC five-power system, the most efficient use of resources, and the requirement by the “Paris Principles,” the experts unanimously agreed that the most feasible option is to make the NHRI part of the Control Yuan. They look forward to the establishment of an independent NHRI in the near future that is dedicated to monitoring and implementing human rights protection, investigating individual cases of human rights violation and promoting public awareness on human rights.

In a month’s time, a full report of this mission will be made available to the public.

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