Wed, Oct 13, 2010 - Page 3 News List

Hau releases white paper on Taipei’s human rights record

By Ko Shu-ling  /  Staff Reporter

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) yesterday touted his city government’s human rights record, after President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) recent call to promote human rights.

The media was informed via text message at 10pm on Monday that Hau, who is running for re-election next month, had published a white paper on human rights.

On Sunday, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said during his Double Ten National Day address that he would immediately establish a human rights consultative committee.

Hau dismissed speculation that his human rights white paper was a hastily formulated policy, saying he would officially introduce it in a few days.

The contents of the white paper posted on Hau’s campaign Web site said that Ma’s announcement had revived interest in human rights issues, and that by making public his human rights white paper now, Hau hoped to protect the rights of all ethnic groups and genders through the city’s human rights consultation and protection committee.

The committee was established by Ma in 2004 when he was Taipei mayor.

Taipei City Law and Regulation Commission chief Yeh Ching-yuan (葉慶元), who also serves as the rights committee’s executive secretary, said the city had amended various bylaws and regulations to keep them in line with international treaties such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

After the Council of Grand Justices ruled in November last year that it was unconstitutional to punish only prostitutes and not their customers, Yeh said the committee met and passed a resolution that law enforcement officers should “in principle, make immediate efforts” to stop carrying out this unconstitutional provision.

The grand justices said the article in the act mandating punishment for prostitutes, but not their patrons was unconstitutional and must be invalidated within two years.

However, Chung Chun-chu (鍾君竺), executive officer of the Collective of Sex Workers and Supporters, said her organization had still received complaints from sex workers about being arrested or put under surveillance.

Chung, who is running for city councilor as an independent in next month’s elections, said there are more than 10,000 sex workers in the city, of which 50 to 60 percent work at hostess bars, 10 to 20 percent work as call girls who serve influential individuals or well-off customers living in expensive apartments and less than 2 percent are street walkers.

She said that more than 80 percent of the sex workers arrested by the city police were street walkers, but those providing services at hostess bars or to rich and influential people were spared.

While most counties and cities have taken concrete actions to honor the ruling of the grand justices, Chung said Taipei City continued to give street walkers a hard time.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top