Posts Tagged ‘Taiwan’

Tang Prize recipients in rule of law category make clear the challenges they face

September 21, 2020

On 21 September 2020 William Yen reported in Taiwan Focus on the Tang Prize 2020. Three NGOs that have won the 2020 Tang Prize for their significant contributions to the rule of law participated on-line in the Tang Prize Masters’ Forum in Rule of Law, organized by the Tang Prize Foundation and National Taiwan University’s College of Law. [see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tang_Prize]
See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2016/06/22/2016-tang-prizes-to-louise-arbour-and-us-sinologist/
They are:
  • The Bangladesh Environment Lawyers Association (BELA),
  • The Colombian Dejusticia: The Center for Law, Justice and Society, and
  • The Legal Agenda, Lebanon.
Syeda Rizwana Hasan, chief executive of BELA, which promotes environmental justice and works toward sound environmental jurisprudence, said :”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,”. This greatly impacts NGOs, as 430 environmental human rights defenders in Bangladesh were killed last year because they were fighting against mining projects or defending the rights of indigenous communities, Hasan said. See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2014/04/27/abu-bakar-siddique-released-but-worries-remain-for-human-rights-defenders-in-bangladesh/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, co-founder of Dejusticia, which aims to strengthen the rule of law on issues such as discrimination against race and gender, said the challenges his organization, like many other NGOs will face in the future, will be the question of how to obtain financial sustainability without losing independence.

Samer Ghamroun, co-founder and current board member of The Legal Agenda, which focuses on promoting the independence of the judiciary and defending the rights of vulnerable groups, said that while religious equality is guaranteed in Lebanon, many other individual rights are sacrificed. “So religious equality coexists with social economic inequalities, huge social economical inquiries and lack of respect for individual rights,” Ghamroun said.

Yeh Jiunn-rong a professor at National Taiwan University, chair of the Tang Prize selection committee for the rule of law and moderator of the forum, expressed his gratitude for the organizations in sharing with Taiwan and the world their activisms and values. “Thank you very much to the representatives of these three laureates for the 2020 Tang Prize for Rule of Law,”.

FIDH makes fresh start with Congress in Taiwan and new Board and President

October 28, 2019

Botswana human rights defender Alice Mogwe, newly elected president of the FIDH, says: “The universality of human rights is under attack – we must fight back!

The member organisations of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) elected their new president during its 40th Congress in Taiwan. Alice Mogwe, will lead the Federation for the next three years, ushering in its 100th anniversary in 2022. In December 2018 Alice Mogwe was the first civil society leader to address the United Nations General Assembly on behalf of over 250 human rights defenders from around the world. [https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2018/12/17/tuesday-18-december-first-time-a-human-rights-defender-addresses-un-general-assembly/] As founder and director of DITSHWANELO – the Botswana Centre for Human Rights – she has spearheaded efforts to advance human rights in Botswana and its Southern African neighbours.
Our fellow human rights defenders the world over are criminalised, disappeared, threatened, and even killed. The space given to us to express ourselves is shrinking. It is thus more important than ever to emphasize that our values are universal and that we must fight back!” declared Alice Mogwe. Ms. Mogwe’s academic background in law, public policy, African studies, and mediation has served her well in advocating for the rights of indigenous peoples, women, LGBTI+ communities, children, migrants and refugees. She also fought for the abolition of the death penalty in Botswana and Africa, and for demanding accountability from the extractive industry in her native country. “We must amplify local voices at regional and international levels. Member organisations are the lifeblood of FIDH; our strength lies in our diversity.

During her three-year mandate, Ms. Mogwe’s priorities will include:
• Strengthening the work of FIDH to raise attention and protect human rights defenders, who face an unprecedented wave of attacks all over the world. Responding to the closure of civic space through programmes providing rapid and practical support for human rights defenders;
• Protecting human rights defenders from digital surveillance and tracking, fostering safe and effective use of technology by human rights defenders, indigenous communities, ethnic, religious, linguistic minorities, and others;
• Strengthening horizontal cooperation between the Federation’s members, both intra- and inter-regionally, to fully utilise their collective power and capabilities. During the Congress, 16 new organisations were approved to join FIDH, increasing its membership to 192. The newly elected International Board is composed of 22 activists from 21 countries.

Composition of the new FIDH International Board:

President
Alice MOGWE

Treasurer
Dominique LEDOUBLE

Secretaries General:
Kaari MATTILA
Gloria CANO
Shawan JABARIN
Adilur RAHMAN KHAN
Drissa TRAORE

Vice Presidents
Sheila MUWANGA
Sandra CARVALHO
Alexis DESWAEF
Reinaldo VILLALBA VARGAS
E-Ling CHIU
Juan Francisco SOTO
Tola Thompson ADEBAYOR
Paul NSAPU MUKULU
Guissou JAHANGIRI
Reyhan YALCINDAG BAYDEMIR
Nedal AL SALMAN
Tolekan ISMAILOVA
Maryse ARTIGUELONG
Artak KIRAKOSYAN
Valiantsin STEFANOVIC

https://www.fidh.org/en/region/asia/taiwan/botswana-activist-alice-mogwe-elected-new-fidh-president-the

Chia-Wei Chi, first in series of videos by European External Action Service

October 4, 2018

This video of Human Rights Defender Chia-Wei Chi in Taiwan is one of 13 that have recently been published by European External Action Service (EEAS) in the context of the 70th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Human Rights Defenders all over the world embody that resilience.

“These are some of their stories. The EU stands up and continues to relentlessly support human rights defenders, to speak out against the shrinking civil society space, and to use political and financial action to support them. They stood up, will you? #Standup4humanrights.”

I will publish these videos in the coming weeks in the lead up to 10 December 2018 as they did not get much publicity until now.

https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters-homepage/51520/human-rights-defenders-chia-wei-chi_en

Award winning Bersih 2.0 saw speech censored by Taiwan award giver

December 18, 2017

How sensitive human rights awards can be is shown again in the case of Taiwan’s Asia Democracy and Human Rights Award. The award (see: http://trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/asia-democracy-and-human-rights-award) is technically independent but closely related to the Government, which probably explains why the part concerning the “1MDB” corruption scandal in Malaysia  was deleted from Maria Chin Abdullah’s acceptance speech.

HR-award-1

[Parts of Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah’s acceptance speech when accepting the Asia Democracy and Human Rights Award in Taiwan last week were censored by organisers. A copy of the speech made available by the electoral reforms coalition today showed the censored portion was on state investment fund 1MDB and the allegations of corruption plaguing Prime Minister Najib Razak’s administration. The section of the speech, titled “Unfettered corruption”, was removed “due to diplomatic sensitivity”, the coalition said.]

Bersih 2.0 received the Asia Democracy and Human Rights Award on 10 December 2017. The event was attended by Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan Foundation for Democracy chairman Su Jia-chyuan, the foundation’s president Hsu Szu-chien and civil society leaders. Bersih 2.0 received earlier the Gwangju award: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2016/04/26/malaysian-bersih-2-0-walk-for-democracy-wins-gwangju-human-rights-award/

Maria in her speech also touched on the lack of freedom of expression, attacks against human rights defenders, and the government’s use of laws such as the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2015 (Sosma). She charged that hate politics was part of a strategy to vilify rights activists. “The politics of hate, religious intolerance and exclusion, which adversely affect the freedom and human rights, are used against human rights defenders. Yet, impunity against wrong doers is not addressed,” she said, adding that change was still a long road ahead“Malaysians’ voices are loud and clear – racial hostility, generated hatred, intolerance, violence and poverty have no place in our nation…Our clarion call: They can jail us. They can beat us up. But, they can never break our spirit”.

 

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2017/12/18/human-rights-award-taiwan-censors-bersih-chiefs-speech/

Anti-Disappearances NGO wins Asian human rights award

November 11, 2016

The Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) has won the Asia Democracy and Human Rights Award 2016 for its efforts to resolve the problem of forced disappearances in Asia.

AFAD has made indelible contributions in pushing states to address the rights of families of the disappeared and in seeking justice for the victims,” said Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan, chairman of the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy. He said that AFAD was a major force behind the UN’s adoption in 2006 of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances, and has in recent years been active in lobbying Asian governments to sign and ratify the convention.

[Su said that many instances of politically motivated disappearances also occurred in Taiwan when the nation was under authoritarian rule. As someone who took part in rescue missions for missing people at that time, Su said he could deeply empathize with the fear experienced by the victims’ families and the hardships faced by human rights organizations in authoritarian nations.]

Founded in 1998 in Manila, AFAD facilitates searches for people who are abducted or imprisoned by a state or political organization, and works to ensure the attainment of truth, justice, redress and the reconstruction of the collective memory of the missing. Recipients of the award include Reporters Without Borders, Rescue Foundation of India, End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes International, as well as Kim Seong-min, founder and director of Free North Korea Radio. The award comes with a prize of US$100,000.

Source: AFAD wins human rights award – Taipei Times

2016 Tang Prizes to Louise Arbour and US sinologist

June 22, 2016

 On 21 June 2016  it was announced that Louise Arbour, a Canadian lawyer and former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, was named the winner of the second Tang Prize in rule of law. The Tang Prize is awarded to Arbour “for her enduring contributions to international criminal justice and the protection of human rights, to promoting peace, justice and security at home and abroad, and to working within the law to expand the frontiers of freedom for all,”  Arbour, 69, was also the chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and for Rwanda (ICTR) between 1996 and 1999. In 1998, Arbour became the first prosecutor to get a conviction of genocide in an international tribunal, when the ICTR convicted Jean-Paul Akayesu, a mayor in Rwanda, of genocide. Tribunal defined rape as a means of perpetrating genocide — the first time that rape was considered an act of genocide by an international tribunal. The following year, as the chief prosecutor for the ICTY, Arbour again made history by indicting Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, who became the first sitting head of state to be tried for war crimes by an international tribunal.

A Tang Prize award ceremony will be held Sept. 25 in Taipei. The laureate will receive a cash prize of US$1.23 million and a research grant of up to NT$10 million to be used within five years.

The biennial Tang Prize was established in 2012 by Taiwanese entrepreneur Samuel Yin to complement the Nobel Prize and to honor top researchers and leaders in four fields: sustainable development, biopharmaceutical science, sinology and rule of law.

This year the Tang Prize in the category sinology also has a human rights component as the laureate is William Theodore de Bary, Professor Emeritus of Columbia University. Read the rest of this entry »