Leaders of Siraya communities yesterday told the Taipei High Administrative Court that the Council of Indigenous Peoples was working to deny recognition of their people and refusing to grant them indigenous status.
Council-appointed lawyer Chen Ching-wei (陳敬暐) said the Siraya people do not meet the requirements to have indigenous status, citing provisions of the Status Act for Indigenous Peoples (原住民身分法).
The act and its amendments were designed to protect the rights of specific groups and provide state resources to recognized communities.
Photo: Wen Yu-te, Taipei Times
Tainan Siraya Culture Association secretary-general Uma Talavan (萬淑娟) said that when President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) issued her historic official apology to all of Taiwan’s indigenous peoples on Aug. 1, 2016, she promised to recognize Pingpu Aboriginal groups and include them as indigenous peoples under the council.
Uma appealed to Tsai to keep her promise, saying that council officials have continued to deny the Siraya indigenous status and exclude them from the council, countering the president’s stated policy in breach of the Constitution.
Uma and more than 300 registered Siraya descendants in 2015 filed the lawsuit to obtain indigenous status, saying that the council’s actions to deny their recognition violated their rights, as it is not for the government to define indigenous peoples.
In doing so, the government and the council have breached international conventions and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the lawsuit says.
The council, established in 1996, is the highest central government body tasked with protecting the rights, and providing social welfare and benefits to Taiwan’s indigenous groups.
At its inception, the council oversaw policies for nine Aboriginal groups, which the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) called “mountain compatriots”: the Amis, Atayal, Bunun, Paiwan, Puyuma, Rukai, Saisiyat, Tao and Tsou peoples.
Since then, the government has added the Thao, Kavalan, Truku, Sakizaya, Sediq, Hla’alua and Kanakanavu communities to the list of recognized Aboriginal groups.
However, over the past two decades, the government has steadfastly refused to recognize the Siraya and other Pingpu groups as indigenous peoples. The council has excluded them and rejected their demands for recognition.
While the Siraya lost a first ruling in a lower court, they appealed and the Supreme Administrative Court last year ordered a retrial, with judges saying that “indigenous people and their ethnic status is derived from family bloodline; they were born with it. It is not granted by the government’s authority, nor is it given by registration at a government office... Therefore, a retrial is ordered, requiring further review and investigation.”
Besides the Siraya, the other Pingpu groups, who live in rural areas in clan-based village communities, include the Babuza, Hoanya, Kaxabu, Ketagalan, Makatao, Pazeh, Papora, Taokas and Tavorlong communities.
DIPLOMATIC MOVES: Beijing is reportedly pressing the state after reports of forming links with Taiwan, while the ministry is also planning to reopen its office in Guam soon A representative office is set to open in Somaliland at the end of this month, at the earliest, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday amid reports that Beijing is sending a diplomatic delegation to the east African country. The ministry on July 1 announced that Taiwan and Somaliland would establish representative offices, following a report by the Somaliland Chronicle Web site. It said at the time that the two nations did not plan to establish formal ties. Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi has instructed close confidants to explore the possibility of “mutual recognition between Taiwan and Somaliland,” the Somaliland Chronicle reported
‘IMMORAL, INSINCERE’: Huang Kun-huei said that Ma was ‘distorting history’ in claiming that Lee Teng-hui laid the foundation for the so-called ‘1992 consensus’ Former Presidential Office secretary-general Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) on Saturday rejected former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) claim that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had been a proponent of Beijing’s “one China” principle. Lee, who served as president from 1988 to 2000, died in Taipei on Thursday last week. After visiting the Taipei Guest House on Saturday to pay his respects to Lee, Ma posted on Facebook that “28 years ago on this day” Lee hosted a session of the now-defunct National Unification Council, during which he passed a resolution on the “one China” principle. That resolution became the basis of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s
NEW ERA: Taiwan, which has controlled its virus outbreak, now faces the challenge of safely resuming economic exchanges with other nations, Chang Shan-chwen said People should not focus entirely on having zero new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Taiwan, but neglect overall control over the disease situation, Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) specialist advisory panel convener Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳) said yesterday. Chang made the remark at a forum in Taipei discussing the steps Taiwan should take in the post-pandemic era, organized by the Chinese-language magazine Global Views Monthly. Chang, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩), and Stanford University’s Center for Policy, Outcomes and Prevention director C. Jason Wang (王智弘) each made a presentation, followed by a panel discussion with Chang, Wang and Buddhist Tzu
A Belgian man who tested positive for COVID-19 in Taiwan last week is likely to have contracted the disease in Taipei in late June, National Taiwan University (NTU) College of Public Health vice dean Tony Chen (陳秀熙) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Saturday reported that the man, who is in his 20s, came to Taiwan for work on May 3 and tested positive on Wednesday last week as he was about to depart. The man in March reported loss of taste and smell, the center said, adding that he worked in Changhua County, but visited Taipei several times,