Mon, May 05, 2003 - Page 4 News List

Rights `bible' ready soon

DRAFT One author of the basic human rights law said Taiwan will take a big leap forward in the protection of human rights once it is passed

CNA , TAIPEI

The draft legislation for the basic human rights law (人權基本法) of Taiwan, the country's human rights "bible" is nearing completion a Presidential Office source said yesterday.

According to Dr. Fort Liao (廖福特), deputy convener of the Human Rights Advisory Group under the Presidential Office, the draft is expected to be submitted by the Executive Yuan to the Legislative Yuan in July or August at the earliest.

If the bill is passed into law, it will serve as a milestone in Tai-wan's human rights situation and development, said Liao, who has been in charge with authoring the Basic Human Rights Law since last year.

Over the last six months, Liao said, the authors of the Human Rights Advisory Group have used three principles in drafting the law: to observe international practice for protecting human rights; to substantiate the draft with powers granted the people in the Taiwan Constitution; and to build a cornerstone for human rights exclusively for the people of Taiwan.

In drafting the bill, he said, the authors have referred to three major schools of writs on human rights as precedents.

The first school of writs was UN treaties on human rights. Four main documents used were: the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; the Convention on the Rights of the Child; and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

The second school of writs originated from Europe. They include: the European Convention on Human Rights and its Five Protocols; the European Social Charter; and the Charter on Basic Human Rights in the EU, Liao said.

Crafting the legislation

Three Principles:

1. Observe international practice.

2. To substantiate the draft with powers granted the people in the Taiwan Constitution.

3. To make the draft exclusively for the people of Taiwan.

Three schools of writs:

1. UN covenants on individual rights.

2. EU conventions on human rights.

3. Constitutions of Germany, Japan and the US.

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Third school of writs his team referred to were the Constitutions of Germany, Japan and the US, he said.

Taiwan's political history, social needs and its future have also been considered when drafting the bill and this includes issues such as whether capital punishment should be phased out or whether asylum rights should be incorporated, he said.

The draft bill has preliminarily designed two major regimes to protect the people's civil and political rights, as well as their economic, social and cultural rights, Liao said, adding that so far, some 50 articles have been completed, with only the wording still to be discussed.

The Executive Yuan has already submitted a draft of the National Human Rights Commission Institutional Law (國家人權委員會組織法) to the Legislative Yuan last year as one of the efforts made by the DPP-led government since President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) assumed the presidency in May 2000.

Human rights will take an unprecedented stride if both the drafts of the Basic Human Rights Law and the National Human Rights Commission Institutional Law are passed by the Legislative Yuan later this year, Liao said.

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