Sat, Jan 22, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Law protecting Aboriginal rights is praised

INDIGENOUS PEOPLES The regulations have been 10 years in the making, and will create agencies for research and cultural promotion, as well as autonomy for Aborigines

By Caroline Hong  /  STAFF REPORTER

A law guaranteeing the autonomy of the nation's indigenous peoples was passed by the legislature yesterday, in a move that Aboriginal legislators hailed as ground-breaking.

"A historic moment for Aborigines occurred at 11:59 am [yesterday]," said independent Aboriginal legislator May Chin (高金素梅) after the Aboriginal Basic Law (原住民族基本法) was passed on the last day of the legislative session.

The basic law, which has been over 10 years in the making, guarantees that government support and resources will be given to the development of a self-governing system for the nation's indigenous people. It stipulates that the government will create agencies for Aboriginal language research and cultural promotion through media channels, and that it will give preference to Aboriginal land names.

Furthermore, the law provides for the inclusion of a special chapter regarding Aboriginal rights in any national declaration of rights. Other articles protect Aboriginal land and cultural rights.

The passage of the law, with its provision for Aboriginal autonomy, has long been a goal of Aboriginal groups and lawmakers.

"The Aboriginal Basic Law is a delayed law, but it is also to be the source of Aboriginal rights," said Aboriginal lawmaker Yang Jen-fu (楊仁福) yesterday. "The law will provide indigenous rights with a strong basis in law, to give Aboriginal people a stable and secure environment for survival."

"The passage of the Aboriginal Basic Law not only gives the future of the Aboriginal people clear and secure direction, but it is also an important milestone in the development of Aboriginal culture," said fellow indigenous lawmaker Tseng Hua-teh (曾華德) yesterday."I hope that the government will do its best to fulfill all of its stipulations."

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