Fri, Jul 26, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan taking lead on civil liberties: AHRCS

REGIONAL POWER:The aim is to establish a human rights court that is a supra-national mechanism that would have the authority to try cases, organizers said

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan is taking the lead to protect civil liberties and promote democracy across Asia, organizers of an international conference on the Asian Human Rights Court Simulation (AHRCS) said yesterday.

The aim is to establish a supra-national mechanism composed of judges from participating nations in a human rights court for Asia, which would have the authority to try cases, organizers said at the opening of the conference, which runs through Sunday.

Such bodies are operating in Europe, the Americas and Africa, organizers said.

“It is symbolic that this process is taking place in Taiwan, as it promotes the value of human rights across the region and will help set up judicial bodies to uphold international standards on human rights in Asia,” said Lu Yeh-chung (盧業中), vice president of Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, the main organizer.

Former Council of Grand Justice member Hsu Yu-hsiu (許玉秀) said that Taiwan can play a leading role in a regional justice system focused on human rights in Asia, as the project can bring together civic groups across international borders to develop mutual understanding on concepts of human rights and protection of civil liberties.

Asia has about 60 percent of the world population and now is the right time for this vast region to have a supra-national justice mechanism, as every person deserves protection from abuse and oppression as nations progress toward democracy and the opening up of society, Hsu said.

Hsu has advocated that an Asian human rights court be based in Taiwan, as the nation has an open society, with high degrees of freedom and democracy.

Baik Tae-ung, vice chairperson of the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, said that people face abuse and political persecution in several Asian countries and need the protection of international support, which an international court for human rights could provide.

Baik, a South Korean who is a professor of law at the University of Hawaii, said that other South Korean judges are interested in the process to develop the body and would attend the meeting in Taipei, as there are efforts to establish a human rights court in his nation.

Organizers in Taipei said they have invited representatives from local and overseas civil groups, with sessions conducted by 13 judges from Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, India, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Hong Kong.

Dato Mah Weng-Kwai, a former judge at the Malaysian Court of Appeals, is to be president of the Asian Human Rights Court Simulation, and National Taiwan University professor of law Chang Wen-chen (張文貞) is to be vice president.

Hsu and Hungarian judge Andras Sajo, who served on the European Court of Human Rights, are to be advisers.

Among the organizers and supporters of the effort are law schools from leading universities in Taiwan, the Judicial Reform Foundation, the Taiwan Association for Human Rights, Covenants Watch, the Legal Aid Foundation, the Taiwan Jury Association and the Awakening Foundation.

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