Mon, Nov 24, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Federation concerned about police response to protests

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The International Federation for Human Rights has become the latest international group to express concern regarding the response of police to protests against Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait Chairman Chen Yun-lin (陳雲林) earlier this month.

The Paris-based group sent letters to President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) on Wednesday, expressing concern over what it called “grave violations of human rights” committed by police during the protests.

The police’s actions were aimed at suppressing freedom of speech, the group said.

In the letter, the federation said the authorities “had taken many dramatic measures, including: confiscating and damaging private property, harassing and assaulting people who came too close to undefined or vaguely defined areas, clearing communal highway lanes with force, conducting random searches and arrests, and restricting the freedom of movement of citizens.”

The organization said it feared the “aggressions” were intended to suppress “freedom of expression of citizens.”

“These measures seem to be aimed at silencing political opinions rather than protecting security, and they blatantly violate the Constitution of Taiwan [sic], notably Article[s] 11 and 14 which protect freedom of expression and international human rights standards.”

“The police and national security authority should be held responsible for violating their legal obligations,” the group said.

It called on the Judicial Yuan and Control Yuan to investigate the allegations of human rights violations.

It also called on the government to amend the Assembly and Parade Law (集會遊行法) to abolish the requirement that protest organizers apply for permits from the police.

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