Sat, Aug 12, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Reform ignores gender, child rights: members

DISCONNECT:Taiwan Healthcare Reform Foundation chief executive Joanne Liu said the agenda for the meeting ‘confirms’ that officials place no importance on the issues

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

Draft conclusions of the National Congress on Judicial Reform ignore urgent gender equality and children’s rights resolutions, several members of one of the body’s subcommittees said yesterday, promising to boycott a final meeting today over the dropping of their policy recommendations.

The congress, which the Presidential Office tasked with drafting an agenda for comprehensive judicial reform, is drawing to a close after more than six months of meetings and is scheduled to present its conclusions today.

Four members of a subcommittee on “maintaining societal safety” denounced government officials, saying they pushed preset policy proposals when drafting the final agenda for today’s meeting, ignoring the group’s resolutions.

“Simply put, the government feels the congress does not have much valuable advice to offer, so officials decided to just push forward with their original agenda,” said subcommittee member Lai Fang-yu (賴芳玉), a women’s rights advocate and lawyer, adding that she felt “let down” and “ignored” by only a brief mention of “gender-friendly laws” in the final agenda.

Lai said she wrote a more than 30,000-character report detailing possible resolutions, of which the subcommittee passed several.

“I really do not understand how the meeting agenda was drafted. Was it not supposed to respect recommendations by subcommittees?” Lai said, ruling out participating in today’s meeting.

“We spent three months trying to make them listen, what difference will three minutes speaking to the president make?” she added.

“If you only want to reform judicial officials, you should call a national conference on judicial official reform,” National Chiao Tung University law professor Lin Chih-chieh (林志潔) said.

Lin criticized the meeting agenda, saying it failed to address proposals such as the passage of a “rape shield” law and decriminalizing adultery and sexual relations between consenting minors.

“We care about these issues because in our line of work we have found that the criminal justice system lacks perspective when dealing with children and different genders,” Taiwan Healthcare Reform Foundation chief executive Joanne Liu (劉淑瓊) said. “This agenda just confirms that government officials do not have any concept of the importance of these issues.”

The agenda of the original policy conference did not include gender issues, with discussion occurring only after protests, Garden of Hope Foundation chief executive Chi Hui-jung (紀惠容) said.

“Unless the Ministry of Justice says that it will address the gender equality laws we have suggested, what is the point of participating — they have already set the agenda,” Chi said. “Participating would just be a waste of time.”

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