The New Power Party (NPP) yesterday proposed draft legislation aimed at rectifying the injustices suffered by Aborigines throughout the nation’s history, in addition to human rights abuses perpetrated by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) during the Martial Law era.
The inclusion of Aboriginal rights in the bill, titled “promoting historical justice and the recovery of rights act,” is in contrast with the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) proposed legislation on transitional justice, which focuses on abuses of power under martial law prior to democratization, although both seek to establish a special commission with broad powers to investigate abuses and draft remedial legislation.
NPP Legislator Freddie Lim (林昶佐) said the bill is aimed at “drawing out the historical line” to enable a “full inspection” of transitional justice issues, including human rights abuses committed under several different governing authorities.
The NPP legislation would establish a “historical justice and rights recovery commission” charged with investigating infringements of indigenous rights, as well as governmental abuses of power.
The NPP bill defines relations between the government and Aboriginal communities as those between equally sovereign bodies, while defining investigations into Aboriginal rights infringements to focus on land and natural resources.
Investigations into governmental abuses of power are to include infringement of property and cultural rights, damage to reputation and personal integrity, unjust sentencing and the erection of symbols of injustice.
Such symbols would include not only statues of former president Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石), but those of Wu Feng (吳鳳) — who is said to have sacrificed his own life to “correct” the headhunting custom of the Tsou, Lim said.
Aboriginal rights are not mentioned in the mandate of the transitional justice promotion commission that would be established under the DPP’s proposal, which would instead be charged with opening political files, removing symbols of authoritarianism while preserving the site of injustices, rectifying unjust sentences and addressing illicit party assets.
The DPP’s draft bill also limits the scope of transitional justice to the period of the authoritarian rule between 1945 and 1991.
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