Wed, Aug 01, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Report says nation better protect its religious freedoms

Staff writer, with CNA

Certain laws could be amended to offer better protection to religious freedom in Taiwan, the recently published 2011 US International Religious Freedom Report said.

Labor laws and immigration regulations could be improved, the report said, saying Taiwan’s labor laws do not protect the right of Catholic foreign workers to go to church once a week.

“An estimated 80,000 foreign workers in Taiwan are Catholic and, in the absence of a guaranteed day off, they are often unable to fulfill their religious duties,” the report said, adding that the Council of Labor Affairs is currently addressing the issue.

With regards to foreigners who wish to obtain missionary visas, the report said: “Taiwan’s immigration law does not have a formal provision for missionary visas for individuals who do not have the rank of priest or nun.”

The report, which was released by the US Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor and covers last year, also highlighted the first case in Taiwan of an employer being fined for religious discrimination. Last year, the government fined a private Catholic school NT$60,000 for firing two US teachers who were Mormons.

The Taipei school said the teachers were “actively working against Catholic belief and that one was offering extra credit to students who attended Mormon religious services,” it said.

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