Three legal advocacy organizations that won this year’s Tang Prize for their significant contributions to the rule of law yesterday discussed the challenges they face in tackling economic, environmental and political issues.
At the Tang Prize Masters’ Forum in Rule of Law, representatives from the Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA), Colombia-based Dejusticia and Lebanon-based The Legal Agenda addressed an audience in Taipei through videoconferencing.
Syeda Rizwana Hasan, chief executive of BELA, which promotes environmental justice and the development of sound environmental jurisprudence, said that her organization faces challenges from international financial institutions, large corporations and the government.
“Corporate interests often take over public interests, and the state loses its entity as a regulator and sides so much with the corporation that you can’t really differentiate which one is the state and which one is the corporation,” she said.
These interests greatly impact non-governmental organizations (NGOs), as 430 environmental and human rights defenders in Bangladesh were killed last year while fighting against mining projects or defending the rights of indigenous communities, Hasan said.
“Authoritarian regimes are increasingly branding NGOs as foreign agents, enemies of the state and anti-development elements. They are trying to criminalize our entity and our functioning, they are trying to seize powers so they can assess our performances and delicense us if we go against their developmental narratives,” Hasan said.
Rodrigo Uprimny Yepes is cofounder of Dejusticia, which is focused on rule of law issues such as racial and sex discrimination.
He said that many NGOs must find a way to obtain financial stability without losing their independence.
Samer Ghamroun, a cofounder and board member of The Legal Agenda, which promotes judiciary independence and the defense of vulnerable groups, said that although religious equality is guaranteed in Lebanon, many other individual rights are not.
“So religious equality coexists with social economic inequalities, huge social economical inquiries and lack of respect for individual rights,” Ghamroun said.
Yeh Jiunn-rong (葉俊榮), a professor at National Taiwan University and chair of the Tang Prize selection committee for the rule of law, moderated the forum, which was organized by the Tang Prize Foundation and the university’s College of Law.
‘LOW PROBABILITY’: China still ‘has a ways to go to develop the actual, no-kidding capability’ to seize Taiwan militarily, US General Mark Milley said The US’ top general on Thursday downplayed concern that China would attempt a military takeover of Taiwan in the near term, saying Beijing does not have the capability to do so. While there has been rising concern in Taiwan and among US lawmakers about Chinese military activity near Taiwan, such as flying jets in Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ), US military officials said that such moves are not overly concerning. US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley told lawmakers that while Taiwan was still a core national interest of China, “there’s little intent right now, or motivation,
A Kaohsiung woman who thought that she was dating Hollywood actor Keanu Reeves was found not guilty of abetting fraud, the Kaohsiung District Court has ruled. Citing insufficient evidence to prove intent, the court on May 27 dismissed fraud and money-laundering charges against the woman, surnamed Chang (張), saying that the evidence suggested that she had been duped. The verdict can be appealed. The verdict said that police opened an investigation into Chang after her bank account was linked to an online catfishing scheme, which involves luring someone into a relationship by using a fictional online persona. The scheme claimed two victims, including a
The Canadian House of Commons on Thursday unanimously passed the first reading of a proposal to create a legal framework for efforts to strengthen relations with Taiwan. The Canada-Taiwan Relations Framework Act was introduced by Canadian Member of Parliament Michael Cooper, who said that not having a formal diplomatic relationship with Taiwan has complicated interactions between the two nations. Taiwan is one of Canada’s largest trading partners, and the two share strong people-to-people links and common values, he said. Taiwan “is a vibrant economy and one of the world’s top 20 economies. It is time Canada’s relations with Taiwan reflect
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers yesterday condemned Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) Institute of Revolutionary Practice director Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強) for calling the government a “vaccine beggar” for receiving a donation of COVID-19 vaccines from the US. “Lo is still living in feudal China,” DPP Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) told a news conference. “When Taiwan needs unity, he uses malicious words to malign our president’s character and Taiwan’s national integrity. This person is either evil or he is completely ignorant,” she said. Taiwan donated 2 million masks to the US, and provided 2 million masks and 50,000 protective gowns to Japan when they