Seventy years ago today, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. From that day on, human respect, equality and dignity were no longer the privilege of the few, but fundamental rights of all.
Throughout the past seven decades, human rights defenders around the world stood up, raised their voices and fought for the principles enshrined in the Declaration. It is because of the courage and perseverance of these brave and visionary people that we are able to enjoy the rights we have today.
Taiwan has achieved remarkable progress in human rights and democracy in the past few decades precisely because individuals were willing to stand up to defend the universality of these values. And with the local elections peacefully concluded last month, Taiwan has yet again consolidated its standing in this regard.
Nevertheless, whether in Taiwan or in other parts of the world, discrimination against the LGBTI communities has not disappeared. Work remains to be done through communication, education and better protection by the law in order to achieve a safer, friendlier, more respectful and more inclusive environment for everyone.
Taiwan took the commendable step of incorporating the provisions of six of the UN’s nine human rights treaties into its domestic laws, and has undertaken periodic voluntary reviews on the implementation of these treaties, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).
Driven by the recommendation provided by international experts after the review in 2017 on Taiwan’s implementation of the two covenants, and thanks to its dynamic civil society, Taiwan started to work on remaining challenges, such as migrant workers’ rights and the rights of indigenous peoples, among others things. We sincerely hope that Taiwan’s government will keep on moving forward and be a leader in such issues. In addition, we would like to encourage the people and government of Taiwan to consider and learn more about the alternatives to the death penalty, as well as the re-establishment of a moratorium on the use of the death penalty.
As we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we would like to take this opportunity to call on everyone to speak up for all those who are suffering from prejudice, bigotry and hatred. As the UN’s human rights campaign pledge goes: “When anyone’s human rights are denied, everyone’s rights are undermined.”
Let us all be human rights defenders for each other, and protect each other to be free and equal in dignity and rights. Let us stand up for human rights!
Signed by: Mr. Gary Richard Cowan, Representative of the Australian Office; Mr. Albin Mauritz, Director of Austrian Office Taipei; Mr. Rik Van Droogenbroeck, Director of Belgian Office Taipei; Mr. Jordan J. Reeves, Executive Director of the Canadian Trade Office; Mr. Patrick Rumlar, Representative of the Czech Economic and Cultural Office; Mr. Nicholas Enersen, Director of The Trade Council of Denmark, Taipei; Ms. Madeleine Majorenko, Head of European Economic and Trade Office; Mr. Jari Seilonen, Representative of Finland Trade Center in Taipei; Mr. Benoit Guidee, Director of The French Office in Taipei; Mr. Thomas Prinz, Director General of German Institute Taipei; Mr. Donato Scioscioli, Representative of Italian Economic, Trade and Investment Office, Taipei; Ms. Tania Berchem, Director Luxembourg Trade and Investment Office, Taipei; Mr. Guy Wittich, Representative of Netherlands Trade and Investment Office; Mr. Maciej Gaca, Director General of the Polish Office in Taipei; Mr. Martin Podstavek, Representative of the Slovak Economic and Cultural Office, Taipei; Mr. Jose Luis Echaniz Cobas, Director General of Spanish Chamber of Commerce; Mr. Hakan Jevrell, Representative of Business Sweden-The Swedish Trade and Invest Council; Mr. Rolf Frei, Director of the Trade Office of Swiss Industries; Ms. Catherine Nettleton, Representative of British Office.
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