As the Presidential Office launched a human rights commission yesterday, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) called on civil servants to protect the rights of the public when exercising public authority and promised to lead a government that defends human rights.
Forming the commission on Human Rights Day, Ma said governments, with their powers, could damage human rights easily.
ABUSE OF POWER
“It is governments that do harm to human rights most easily. The governments have authority, and civil servants are the ones who exercise such rights. Power corrupts, and all civil servants should bear those words in mind and prevent the violation of human rights,” Ma said as he addressed the commission at the Presidential Office.
Citing the example of his indictment on corruption charges while serving as Taipei mayor, Ma said he had met some civil servants who violated human rights while going through the legal battle, which prompted him to make human rights a priority in his government.
Prosecutors indicted Ma for allegedly siphoning funds from his special allowance fund as Taipei mayor in 2007. He was later cleared of all charges.
Ma said the commission was formed to establish human rights policies and release annual reports to enhance the standard of human rights in Taiwan.
The commission comprises 18 members, including four government officials and 14 experts on human rights issues.
Vice President Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) is leading the commission, with honorary director of Chinese Association for Human Rights Chai Song-lin (柴松林) serving as the vice convener of the committee.
Siew said the commission had no authority to investigate and review human rights violations. The Cabinet has set up a task force to promote human rights, and there is also a human rights protection commission under the Control Yuan.
The vice president said the commission would discuss the possibility of establishing a human rights body under the government to tackle human rights issues more actively.