The government yesterday reiterated its commitment to safeguarding workers’ welfare and fundamental human rights, after the US Department of State’s latest human rights report singled out Taiwan’s exploitation of migrant workers as one of its principal human rights problems.
“The government attaches great importance to labor rights,” Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang (黃重諺) said, citing the administration’s efforts to increase the minimum wage, enforce the policy of one day off per week and cancel a requirement mandating that migrant workers must leave the nation at least one day every three years.
Huang said President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration plans to devote itself to upgrading domestic industries in a bid to improve the nation’s working environment through the improvement of overall economic welfare.
Huang’s remarks came after publication on Friday of the US report for last year, which draws attention to Taiwan’s exploitation of foreign crew members on long-haul fishing boats and foreign caregivers.
Other human rights problems in Taiwan underscored by the report include government corruption, domestic violence, violations of legal working hours and media self-censorship with regard to China.
The report came on the heels of the government’s issuance of a NT$1.2 million (US$38,685) fine late last month to a Kaohsiung-based tofu processing factory that had allegedly been illegally hiring and mistreating Indonesian workers.
One of the workers said she was held against her will and forced to work 15 hours per day for 14 years.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a news release yesterday stating that protection of human rights has been one of the government’s major priorities.
“In recent years, we have ratified and actively executed international human rights covenants to improve the nation’s human rights record,” the ministry said, adding that the government’s promotion of pension reform, judicial reform, transitional justice, Aboriginal history, and housing policy also represent similar efforts.
The ministry said it would gather responses to the US report from government agencies and continue to communicate with Washington over the issue.
UNDER INVESTIGATION: Huang’s body was found just outside the bathroom and showed no signs of a struggle, and no alcohol or drugs were found Singer and actor Alien Huang (黃鴻升) was found dead at his home in Taipei’s Beitou District (北投) yesterday. He was 36. Huang was also known by the nickname Xiao Gui (“little ghost”). His body was found when his father went to check on him after being unable to reach him by telephone, and called emergency services to the house at 11am, the Taipei City Police Department said. Huang’s body, which was discovered just outside the bathroom, showed no signs of a physical struggle, and he appeared to have been dead for some time, police said, adding that no drugs or alcohol were
CONFIRMED IN PHILIPPINES: The CECC would conduct contact tracing for the migrant workers to determine if they had come into contact with elderly people or children Six Filipinos tested positive for COVID-19 upon returning home from Taiwan, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday as it reported a case of imported COVID-19 infection, bringing the number of confirmed cases in Taiwan to 500. Philippine authorities reported four of the cases through the National IHR Focal Point, while the other two were reported by the company that they had worked for in Taiwan. The six — five women and one man — are aged from their 20s to 40s, and worked as in-home care workers, domestic workers, factory workers and sailors in Taiwan, said Minister of Health and
The COVID-19 pandemic might not have originated from a seafood market in Wuhan, China, National Taiwan University College of Public Health professor Tony Chen (陳秀熙) said yesterday. While many countries are experiencing second waves of COVID-19 infections, many are also lifting lockdowns to revive their economies, allowing travelers to cross national borders, Chen said. Academics have been questioning whether genetic mutations in the novel coronavirus in different countries have made it more infectious, he added. Academics from different backgrounds have conducted phylogenetic analysis of SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences, he said, adding that the studies can help scientists understand how the virus spread among
The Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) yesterday said that it has allocated NT$68 million (US$2.32 million) to build an Internet-of-things (IoT) platform that would facilitate proactive maintenance of the railway system and enhance service punctuality. The agency said that it decided to build the platform to promote horizontal communication among its departments after an investigation into the Puyuma Express derailment in October 2018 found that its four main departments — electrical engineering, rolling stock, construction and transportation — failed to share information with one another. The platform would use artificial intelligence to analyze maintenance data collected by its departments, including railway crossings,