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Control Yuan to Establish National Human Rights Commission

As the nation’s ombudsman, the Control Yuan is responsible for investigating misconduct and violations by government agencies and officials. The CY also shoulders the responsibility of protecting human rights through the exercise of its supervisory powers and the handling of people’s written petitions and complaints. In response to the public’s expectations and after years-long research and planning, the CY passed the draft “Organic Law of the Control Yuan National Human Rights Commission,” as well as draft amendments to “the Organic Law of the Control Yuan” and “the Organic Act of the Control Yuan Committees,” at the 62nd plenary meeting on June 11, 2019. The bills were then sent for review and deliberation by the Legislative Yuan, which passed them into law on Human Rights Day on Dec. 10, 2019. With the promulgation of the new legislation, the CY National Human Rights Commission shall be established accordingly, marking a new era for the promotion and protection of human rights in Taiwan.

The amended Organic Law of the Control Yuan includes a new provision that grants Membership to individuals who are renowned specialists in the human rights field or are renowned practitioners from non-governmental organizations responsible for human rights. In the future, CY Members may come from different ethnic groups, or may be experts in human rights. The composition of CY Members shall be more diverse, and thus in line with the expectations of civil society organizations that have long called for greater diversity in the make-up of the nation’s highest human rights body.

Through the exercise of its investigatory powers, the CY has brought about improvements in the situation on a range of longstanding human rights issues. For example, its probe into the death of Army Corp. Hung Chung-chiu while in disciplinary detainment brought about changes to better protect human rights in the military; while its investigation of a semiconductor factory in Kaohsiung discharging waste water into a nearby stream led to the installation of a wastewater quality monitoring system at the export processing zone. In addition, its investigations into excess dioxin level in eggs, the use of moldy food ingredients by well-known hotels, and the sale of counterfeit drugs on the market have led to improved laws and source management related to food safety and medicine.

The Control Yuan places great importance on safeguarding the rights of children and youths, persons with physical or mental disabilities, women and foreign spouses, senior citizens, migrant workers, indigenous peoples, and even those held in detention. The CY cares for individuals in every corner of society and assists those deprived of their rights who are helpless, voiceless and incapable of defending themselves. Cases include child abuse deaths, campus violence, drug use on campus, employment challenges for persons with disabilities, the right of abode for divorced foreign spouses, sexual harassment in the military and on campus, caregiving for the elderly and persons living with dementia, and reintegration of youths into the regular school system following completion of reform school sentences. The CY firmly upholds that all people, regardless of their identity, enjoy fundamental human rights, whether they are at home, at school, at work, or even on probation or in prison, and should never be deprived of these rights under any circumstance.

With the newly established NHRC, the Control Yuan shall continue to actively address human rights concerns and deal decisively with cases of violations and abuses in order to build an even more comprehensive human rights protection network.