The ‘Taiwan Model’ of Adopting Human Rights Treaties Without UN Membership

Taiwan has earned plaudits for domesticated human rights reforms, but NGOs accuse successive administrations of failing to keep promises to do more.

The News Lens
Date: 2019/04/25
By: Chen Yu-chiao

Credit: Reuters / TPG

Owing to political tensions with the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Taiwan dropped out of the United Nations in 1971 and became the very few states that does not have a UN membership. It means Taiwan is excluded from UN human rights bodies carrying human rights monitoring mechanisms, which means Taiwan must go its own way to meet international human rights standards.

This starts with endowing UN human rights treaties with domestic legal status.

What is the Taiwan model?
The Legislative Yuan passed the Two International Covenants Enforcement Act (International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights) in 2009 which has set up the stage for review by international experts for both 2013 and 2017. Three other UN human rights treaties were also endowed domestic legal status in the following years within the provisions including a state report and an international review which should be given every four or five years.

The Taiwan model at least has three features. First, the procedure of international review is formulated and implemented by government and local NGOs; second, the review is similar to the UN’s Universal Periodic Review as a whole but adjusts to local needs; third, it takes place in Taipei which encourages government and civil representatives to engage, according to an introductory article written by Kuo Min-li (郭銘禮) and Chen Yu-jie (陳玉潔) in Taiwan Human Rights Journal.    [FULL  STORY]

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