ANNI in Taiwan to advocate for the establishment of an independent NHRI
9 May 2014 4:29 pm

The Asian NGO Network on NHRIs (ANNI) recently organized a series of events in Taiwan from 21-25 April 2014. They included, among others, a national workshop for civil society organizations for the establishment of an independent National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) as well as its annual Regional Consultation with members and partners.

It was both symbolic and strategic to convene the meetings in Taiwan. Following the passage of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) into domestic law in 2009, a landmark review was conducted by ten international human rights experts last year to assess the government’s compliance with the international human rights norms and obligations it had undertaken.[1] One of the key recommendations was for the establishment of an independent NHRI in compliance with the Paris Principles as a priority objective.

Given the momentum and impetus, it was thus opportune that ANNI members from around Asia and the Asia Pacific Forum (APF)[2] were present in Taipei to lend their solidarity and support for this significant endeavor. An ANNI delegation also met with the Vice President, who is the Convenor of the Human Rights Advisory Committee under the President’s office. It was encouraging that this national endeavor appeared to have the support at the highest levels of government and with the involvement of civil society. The Committee is expected to present its proposal to the President in the coming months.

Increasingly confronted with an array of critical human rights issues and violations ranging from violent crackdowns against peaceful demonstrators, to forced evictions and the death penalty, it is imperative for the government to create a robust national infrastructure committed to the promotion and protection of human rights. The establishment of an independent and effective NHRI is a timely and necessary next step.

[1] The group is composed of the following ten independent experts, working in their personal capacities: Philip Alston, Nisuke Ando, Virginia Bonoan-Dandan, Theodor van Boven, Jerome Cohen, Shanthi Dairiam, Asma Jahangir Manfred Nowak, Eibe Riedel and Heisoo Shin.

[2] The APF was represented by Ms. Rosslyn Noonan, former Chair of the International Coordinating Committee of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (ICC) and former Chief Commissioner of the New Zealand NHRC.