Sat, Jan 10, 2009 - Page 4 News List

Room to improve rights: Control Yuan

LONG WAY TO GO The status in Taiwan of spouses from less developed countries and immigrant labor can not yet be considered progressive, forum speakers said

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Control Yuan President Wang Chien-shien delivers a speech at the opening ceremony of a forum on protecting human rights at the Control Yuan in Taipei yesterday.

PHOTO: WANG YI-SUNG, TAIPEI TIMES

Control Yuan President Wang Chien-shien said yesterday that Taiwan still cannot be characterized as a progressive country in human rights protection in view of its human rights infringement record.

Wang made the remarks while addressing a forum on human rights protection held by the Control Yuan where consumer protection and the rights of foreign spouses were discussed.

“No matter how fast a country’s economy grows, it is not a progressive country if it cannot protect human rights on all fronts. There is still a lot of room to improve in this regard in Taiwan,” Wang said.

During the forum, Gaston Wu (吳家誠), a professor of chemistry at National Taiwan Normal University, called for the Department of Health to establish a comprehensive food safety monitoring mechanism to prevent food problems similar to last year’s tainted milk scandal.

Honorary president of the Consumers’ Foundation, Chiu Ching-hua (邱清華), said that Taiwan still had a long way to go to improve its human rights record in the medical field, even though the country has excellent public health and medical technology.

The government should speed up legislation for setting up a settlement mechanism, to which victims of medical malpractice can resort when seeking compensation, Chiu said.

On the subject of human rights protection for immigrant labor, Liao Yuan-hao (廖元豪), a law professor at National Chengchi University, said the government needs to overhaul laws and regulations on immigrant workers because they fall outside the umbrella of the Constitution.

“To put it simply, the reality is that immigrant workers in Taiwan have no human rights as enshrined in the Constitution. Both lawmakers and policymakers need to change the mindset that it is within their discretion to deny them any benefits and rights,” Liao said.

Hsia Hsiao-chuan (夏曉鵑), an associate professor of sociology at Shih Hsin University, gave a report on the difficulties experienced by brides from less developed countries.

She suggested overhauling all laws and regulations on marriage for immigrants, which she said reflected the country’s discrimination against groups in terms of gender, race and class.

Chai Song-lin (柴松林), honorary president of the Chinese Association for Human Rights, urged the Control Yuan to oversee the administration’s review of flawed rules and regulations to ensure the implementation of human rights standards contained in the Constitution.

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