On 15 July, Taiwan and the European Union (EU) held their 3rd annual Human Rights Consultations via video conference, in a friendly, open and constructive atmosphere.
Taiwan and the EU reaffirmed their shared commitment to upholding and promoting human rights, democracy and the rule of law. In light of the current pandemic, both sides further reiterated the importance of dialogue, cooperation and solidarity in addressing the challenges posed by the coronavirus and in supporting these fundamental values.
During the Consultations, the EU and Taiwan exchanged views on their respective human rights situations and policies. Taiwan presented progress in the adoption of the first national Human Rights Action Plan and in establishing a National Human Rights Commission, an important step to further protect and promote human rights. The EU outlined main policy developments, notably the EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2020-2024.
The EU and Taiwan also discussed business and human rights, and the migrant workers’ rights, especially in the fishing industry, as well as domestic workers. The EU welcomed progress towards finalising a National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights and expressed readiness to share experience in this regard. The EU underlined the need to effectively ensure that migrant workers’ rights were fully protected to avoid discrimination and exploitation. In this regard, Taiwan shared updates on the process of domestication of the ILO Convention 188, supported by the EU through the TAIEX (Technical Assistance and Information Exchange) project.
On the death penalty, both sides reiterated their positions and discussed ways to further collaborate on this issue. The EU recalled its strong opposition towards the execution carried out on 1 April 2020 and called on Taiwan to reinstate a de facto moratorium and pursue a policy towards the abolition of the death penalty. The EU and Taiwan also reviewed the conditions of detention centers and prisons in Taiwan and Taiwan reiterated the need to ensure the protection of human rights for Taiwanese people arrested or detained in the EU. Taiwan raised concerns on the situation of Mr Lee Ming-Che as well as other human rights cases.
Finally, Taiwan and the EU reviewed their respective situation and policy developments on gender equality and protection of LGBTI rights, in particular Taiwan’s advancement since its legalisation of same-sex marriage in 2019. The two sides agreed to continue their cooperation in this regard.
Taiwan and the EU agreed to hold the next annual Human Rights Consultations as a physical meeting, if situation would allow, and to continue exchanges and cooperation on the topics raised during the Consultations.
The Human Rights Consultations, with the opening remarks by Mr Marc Giacomini, Deputy Managing Director for Human Rights, Global and Multinational Affairs of the EUropean External Action Service, were co-chaired on behalf of the EU by Ms Luisa Ragher, Head of Division for Human Rights and by Mr Jonathan Hatwell, Head of Division for China, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan and Mongolia in the European External Action Service, and by Mr Ping-Cheng Lo, Minister without Portfolio on behalf of Taiwan.