Fri, Dec 23, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Huapan, KRTC top rights-trampling annual awards list


A non-governmental organization committed to securing human rights yesterday awarded the ignominious "hitter award" to Huapan Administration Consul-tant Co and Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corp (KRTC) to underscore their records in trampling Thai workers' human rights.

The Taiwan Association for Human Rights (TAHR) President Wu Hao-jen (吳豪人) announced the association's "ten-plus-one top human-rights stories of 2005" and winners of the "Orz awards for trampling human rights."

Wu said the stories and "awards" are aimed at ensuring the protection of human rights, but this cannot be achieved if the government and society do not stop violating people's human rights.

Huapan and KRTC were not the only ones to receive this year's "hitter award" in the "Orz" category. Formosa Plastics and a few notorious labor brokers were also given the "award" for their role in violating foreign workers' human rights.

Gil Lebria, a Filipino worker who had worked at Formosa Plastics' plant in Yunlin County's Mailiao (麥寮) Township, told his story at the press conference.

He said that after he was beaten by the factory's security guards, the management did not send him to hospital. Instead, he and 15 other maltreated co-workers were sent back to their home countries.

It was only with funds donated by civic groups that he was able to file a lawsuit against the security guards who had hit him, Lebria said.

In connection with foreign workers' human rights violations, TAHR presented a "black hand award" to the Council for Labor Affairs (CLA) for its poor foreign workers policy and lousy supervision of their management.

The Department of Health received an "unwashed hand award" for its discriminatory AIDS patients policy that bans them from donating blood, and for its failure to educate the public about respecting the medical rights of the disadvantaged.

Police and prosecution authorities as well as the Government Information Office (GIO) received the "cradle-overthrowing hand award" for repressing freedom of speech by cracking down on the publishing of "unusual DVDs" during the Dec. 3 elections and other violations of civil liberties.

Wu said that in Taiwan, there are still quite a few "heavy-handed and totalitarian" policies and institutions. For example, he said, the controversy over relocating a leprosarium in Taipei County is a case where a minority group's human rights were violated when the interests of the minority could not withstand the onslaught of the majority's interests.

The TAHR's 10-plus-one top human-rights stories were the controversy over fingerprinting, foreign workers policy, domestic violence, infringements on the freedom of speech and thought, the law on assembly, sexual discrimination, banning students from choosing their hair styles and corporal punishment on campus, discrimin-ation against patients of certain diseases, ecological murderers, abolishing capital punishment, and relocation of the Sinjhuang leprosarium.

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