Taiwan Democracy Watch yesterday released a manifesto entitled the “Declaration of Free Men” and called for a step-by-step process to remold relations across the Taiwan Strait on the basis of human rights.
The group of pro-democracy academics, which is scheduled to host a seminar today to discuss cross-strait human rights development, called for a two-stage approach to promote peace across the Strait in a press release, proposing an “early harvest human rights list” as a short-term goal and the signing of a human rights charter as a long-term goal.
“The protection of human rights would be the foundation of mutual political trust,” the group said.
Taiwan and China should recognize each other’s sovereignty and develop bilateral ties based on constitutionalism, it said.
The group also listed four areas in what it called an “early harvest human rights list”: human rights protection and legal assistance for detainees on both sides of the Strait, the inclusion of a human rights clause in current agreements, the signing of agreements on personal safety and protection of the freedom of the press.
The group called on China to carry out judicial reform and protect freedom of speech and publishing and on Taiwan to establish a national agency in charge of human rights, enact a statute on cross-strait agreement monitoring and bolster its compliance to international human rights covenants.
It said Taiwan and China could discuss a human rights charter, which could serve as the basis of interaction between the two sides.
“Taiwan Democracy Watch opposes any form of political negotiation and political agreement — be it called military confidence-building measures, peace accord, mid-term agreement or plan for the final political solution — before the charter is signed and fully implemented,” the group said.
“People on both sides of the Strait can discuss their future relationship only when they are free from military threats and when their rights, freedom, democracy are protected,” it said.