Government Information Office (GIO) Minister Su Jun-pin (蘇俊賓) yesterday said his office would help publicize the nation’s human rights situation after a report by the US State Department mentioned persistent human rights problems in Taiwan.
When approached for comment on his way to the Legislative Yuan, Su said the government remained highly confident of Taiwan’s human rights status.
“The GIO will take the initiative to communicate the situation in Taiwan to our friends around the world or to organizations that care about human rights in Taiwan,” Su said.
Su’s comment came after the US State Department’s latest international human rights report said that human trafficking, abuse of foreign workers, discrimination, violence against women and government corruption in Taiwan persisted although the nation “generally respected” human rights.
The report expressed concerns about violence against women, saying that “rape and domestic violence remained a serious problem” in Taiwan. The report said that foreign spouses were targets of discrimination both inside and outside the home, adding that arranged marriages through brokers degraded women who are often treated like property.
The report said child abuse remained a serious problem in Taiwan, adding that there appeared to have been a “significant increase” in the number of boys forced into prostitution over the past year.
The report named Taiwan as a destination for human trafficking from other nearby nations and also cited “reports of women being trafficked from Taiwan for sexual exploitation purposes to Canada, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States and other countries.”
The report was critical of official corruption in Taiwan and political influence in the judicial system, saying that numerous politicians had publicly questioned the neutrality of prosecutors and judges in several “high-profile and politically sensitive cases.”
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday said it had no comment on the report except to say it respected the views of the US State Department.
When asked why the state department had begun referring to the nation simply as “Taiwan” rather than “China (Taiwan only),” as it had done prior to last year, Department of North American Affairs Director-General Harry Tseng (曾厚仁) said Taiwan had filed numerous complaints against “inappropriate” nomenclature to the state department’s Taiwan Desk.
He said, however, that the change was not policy-related and should not be interpreted as an indication that the US has altered its policy toward Taiwan.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY JENNY W. HSU