The government has failed to uphold treaty obligations in protecting residency rights, protesters said yesterday, calling on President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration to outline legal mechanisms to supervise implementation of reform as it begins a new national human rights review.
About 20 people from the Taiwan Anti-Forced Eviction Alliance, the Homeless of Taiwan Association and an assortment of self-help groups protested outside the Chang Yung-fa Foundation building in Taipei, where a week-long review of a government human rights report is being held.
The protesters shouted that the government was just “pretending to be noble,” when in reality it has proven unwilling to implement substantial reform.
The Legislative Yuan in 2009 adopted the Act to Implement the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (公民與政治權利國際公約及經濟社會文化權利國際公約施行法), which mandated periodic reports and review to monitor adherence to the act. The last round was held in 2012.
“We originally hoped that [Tsai’s] government would guarantee residency rights, but not even one of the expert recommendations from the last review has been implemented,” Taiwan Anti-Forced Eviction Alliance member Lin Tzu-chin (林子勤) said.
The final report passed by the Presidential Office’s human rights advisory panel in 2012 voiced concern over several current eviction cases, calling for the government to push through revisions to the Urban Renewal Act (都市更新條例).
“The government keeps repeating what it has already done, but the reality is it has been unwilling to make any concrete promises on reforms to address the system’s flaws,” alliance executive committee member Chen Hui-yu (陳慧瑜) said. “There are huge problems with the Urban Renewal Act. It is the main reason some residents get evicted without fair compensation, but neither the [former] Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) nor the Democratic Progressive Party administrations have been willing to propose structural amendments.”
She questioned the Tsai administration’s proposal that would loosen restrictions on “volume rewards” for some urban renewal projects, which she said would encourage demolition of old homes to make way for larger constructions.
“While there are many problems with the Urban Renewal Act, it does mandate some review before giving ‘volume rewards,’ including impact on the surrounding environment. However, under new rules, most of these criteria would be dropped as long as you can demonstrate that the building is over 30 years old,” she said.
Homeless of Taiwan member Kuo Ying-ching (郭盈靖) said the government has failed to set a single national policy to address homelessness, leading to local variance and the requirement that homeless people return to the locality of their household registry to receive assistance.
“Right now the level of assistance depends on local budgets, but there should be a common baseline if we believe in basic residency rights — right now there is not even a common definition of homelessness,” she said, adding that about 60 percent of Taipei’s homeless have household registrations in other cities.
Establishing a coordinated national policy to find and assist the homeless was the other main housing rights recommendation of the 2012 review panel.
A domestically developed “suicide drone,” also known as a loitering munition, would be tested and evaluated in July, and could enter mass production next year, Taiwan’s weapons developer said on Wednesday. The yet-to-be-named drone was among nine drone models unveiled by the National Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST) on Tuesday. The drone has been dubbed the “Taiwanese switchblade” by Chinese-language media, due to its similarity to the US-made AeroVironment Switchblade 300, which has been used by Ukraine in counterattacks during Russia’s invasion. It has a range of more than 10km, a flight time of more than 15 minutes, and an electro-optical
OFFLINE: People who do not wish to register can get the money from select ATMs using their bank card, ID number and National Health Insurance card number Online registration for NT$6,000 (US$196.32) cash payments drawn from last year’s tax surplus is to open today for eligible people whose national ID or permanent residency number ends in either a zero or a one, the Ministry of Finance said on Monday. Officials from the ministry revealed which days Taiwanese and eligible foreigners would be able to register for the cash payments at a joint news conference with the Ministry of Digital Affairs. Online registration is to open tomorrow for those whose number ends in a two or three; on Friday for those that end in a four or five: on Saturday
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