Minister of Foreign Affairs Timothy Yang (楊進添) confirmed yesterday that the Republic of China (ROC) embassy in Honduras shielded ousted Honduran president Manuel Zelaya’s daughter in June.
“[The incident] took place on June 28 when Zelaya’s youngest daughter and her five-year-old child came to our embassy to seek asylum,” Yang told reporters on his way to the legislature.
“Zelaya’s daughter was seven months’ pregnant. The embassy also understood she had taken virtually no part in political activities. Out of humanitarian concerns, [the embassy] allowed her to temporarily stay within the embassy compound,” Yang said, adding that she left on July 10.
Yang confirmed a story published by the Chinese-language China Times yesterday quoting anonymous sources as saying that Taiwan’s Ambassador to Honduras Lai Chien-chung (賴建中) agreed to temporarily offer her asylum for humanitarian reasons after she sought help at the embassy the day Zelaya was forcibly deported.
However, the news story reported the embassy denied asylum requests from Zelaya’s wife on the grounds that Taipei did not want to become involved in Honduras’ political wrangling.
The story said Taiwan’s decision to grant asylum to Zelaya’s daughter had reinforced the nation’s image as a protector of human rights.
Yang yesterday denied that Zelaya’s wife had also sought asylum at the embassy, adding that the embassy had fully communicated with top officials in Honduras’ interim government regarding Taipei’s decision and that the officials said they understood.