EU report criticizes use of capital punishment

BONE OF CONTENTION::While saying human rights in Taiwan are at international standards, the report raises concerns about the 33 executions over the past six years

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

Wed, Jun 24, 2015 - Page 3

The EU says Taiwan has implemented policies that have boosted human rights to international standards, with the exception of the death penalty, according to the latest EU Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World released in Luxembourg on Monday.

“The EU’s engagement [in Taiwan] fits into a generally good human rights situation and domestic policy to implement international standards, with the exception of the death penalty,” the EU says in the report.

The report outlines the consistent efforts of the EU, its extensive network of 139 delegations and EU Representative for Human Rights Stavros Lambrinidis to promote the universality of human rights around the world, the union said in a press release.

Throughout last year, the EU engaged in formal human rights dialogues and consultations with 37 partner countries and regional groupings, it said.

Taiwan is one of the nations named in the report where the extensive use of the death penalty has made it a particular focus of attention, along with Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Belarus, Egypt, Japan, Singapore, China and the US, as EU nations deplore the use of the punishment.

Taiwan observed a de facto moratorium on the use of the death penalty from 2005 to 2010, but in the past six years 33 death row inmates have been executed, each followed by a statement from the EU calling for an immediate moratorium on use of the death penalty.

The EU remains engaged with local authorities and civil society (providing support for the non-governmental organization Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty through the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights) on working effectively toward the resumption of a moratorium on the death penalty with a view to its formal abolition, the report says.

In its regular dialogue with Taiwan — the EU-Taiwan annual consultations on non-trade issues — the EU raised its concerns over the death penalty and its continued application, the report says.