Posted On Wednesday, 2 January 2008
Taiwan Association for Human Rights (TAHR) is an independent non-governmental organization and was founded on 10th December 1984 (International Human Rights Day). It is a member-based NGO and run by full time activists and volunteers.
Non-aligned with: government, political parties, financial groups, interest groups, or groups with specific political ideologies
Aims to establish and improve human rights, and are devoted to strengthen human rights standards and protection mechanisms.
Cares for individuals, groups, and communities, who suffer from threats or violence regardless of class, status, race, gender, belief, or nationality.
Focuses its attention on domestic human rights issues, and cooperates with international human rights organizations on global human rights issues.
At the early years, due to the long-term enforcement of Martial Law, provisions of fundamental human rights protection under the Republic of China (ROC) Constitution had not been able to be put into practice. In response to this, democratic reforms to ensure civil and political rights became the main TAHR’s campaign topics in its initial years. Now TAHR has extended its engagement to a variety of human rights issues, some key works include:
1.Individual Case Support: TAHR looks after cases where authority seriously violates basic human rights, by assisting with investigations and offering actual support.
TAHR has offered litigation support to readdress grievances of“Hsichih Trio” and “Chiou Ho-shun”, innocent mens on death rows. To accelerate the process of judicial reforms, TAHR organises lecture circuits and court observations.
As to inappropriate policies towards patients at Losheng Sanatorium and the incident of removing the memorial monument of Takasago Volunteer Unit in Wulai by New Taipei City Government, TAHR provided legal resources for judiciary proceedings on a long-term basis and urged the authority to improve the legal system through press conferences and publications.
2.Policy Watch(/Policy Monitoring/ Policy Monitoring and Advocacy): TAHR follows the latest agenda from international human rights organizations on a regular basisand monitors domestic law and policy making before taking necessary actions. The main agenda that TAHR currently focuses on is:
International human rights conventions and protection mechanism: Because of isolation from international communities, Taiwan lacks international networks of human rights organizations some other countries have. TAHR as an NGO advocates an agenda in the context of international human rights and improves the quality of lawmaking standards in the legal system. Followed by international human rights conventions implemented into legislation in recent years, TAHR ensures those provisions of human rights conventions are laid down by statute, and expedites accountable and non-biased national human rights commissions to be established.
Freedom of Expression and Opinion: TAHR continuously monitors amendments to the Assembly and Parade Act, and also launches appeals to freedom of speech.
Right to Housing: since there're more and more forced evictions in Taiwan in recent years, TAHR starts to focus on Right to Housing and assist a local anti-forced evection group near the Tao-Yuan airport.
Right to Privacy: TAHR is the secretariat of “Personal Data Protection Alliance” and follows suspected privacy violations from Joint Credit Information Center, electronic medical and health records exchange, fingerprint policies, and human genome database. TAHR is concerned over the danger of a new authoritarian quality arising in the government, where science and technology policies lack advice bodies.
Migrants' rights, Immigration Detention and Refugees: TAHR urges Taiwanes government to pass Refugee Act and had assisted several cases of asylum seekers releasing from immigration detention center and getting stay permits in Taiwan.
3.Promotion, Education, and Training:
Human rights ideas are promoted through workshops and volunteer training programs.
TAHR E-newsletters, TAHR PAS seasonal journals and TAHR annual reports are issued regularly to cover various human rights issues.
TAHR provides human rights-related publications and multi-media materials in various languages.
4.Close cooperation with international human rights organizations.
*Forum Asia (Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development):
It is the main multi-national human rights organization in Asia, it is headquartered is in Bangkok, Thailand. Through Forum Asia platform, TAHR shares latest news and offer support with other Forum members.
*FIDH (International Federation for Human Rights):
FIDH is the earliest human rights group in the world. Its headquarters is in Paris, France, and has 164 members around the world. TAHR joined in FIDH in 2007 and became an official member in 2009. TAHR has worked with FIDH on investigation of current death penalty issues in Taiwan and Japan, as well as supports related campaigns.
*APRRN (Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network):
It is contributed by 116 NGOs around the world. Asia has the highest number of refugees in the world. As the APRRN members are from diverse professions, they are able to offer legal support to refugees and asylum seekers.