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Taiwan’s advocacy for human rights highlighted in Japan

  • Date:2019-12-05
Taiwan’s advocacy for human rights highlighted in Japan

The Taiwan Cultural Center in Tokyo and Institut Français du Japon (French Institute in Japan) co-organized a panel on Dec. 5 to mark the 40th anniversary of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), as the world's second oldest international human rights organization held its world congress in Taipei during October.

The Tokyo session invited advocates that attended the 40th FIDH Congress in Taiwan, including Human Rights Now Secretary-General Kazuko Ito (伊藤和子), Same-Sex Partnership Net Japan co-representative Hiroshi Ikeda (池田宏), and Japan Association for Refugees Chair Eri Ishikawa (石川えり). Ken Suzuki (鈴木賢) of Meiji University hosted the event.

In sharing the key points of President Tsai Ing-wen's speech at the FIDH Congress and Taiwan's emphasis on human rights issues, Ito mentioned that although Taiwan is not officially affiliated with many international human rights organizations or international conventions, the government regularly invites human right experts to review whether Taiwan's legal system meets international standards. On the other hand, Japan has joined many such conventions, but is less concerned with international standards. This is something that Japan needs to learn from Taiwan, she added.

From the perspective of refugees and immigrants, Ishikawa discussed the decline of human rights standards around the world, and suggested that solutions should foremost be based on "empathy" and resolved through cooperation among countries. She remarked on how Taiwan's draft asylum law that is currently under review by the Legislative Yuan should serve as reference for Japan when it passes.

Ikeda discussed the importance of Taiwan's Gender Equity Education Act that passed in 2004, which laid the groundwork for issues such as the legalization of same-sex marriage and LGBTQ+ rights. In comparison, Japanese education on gender equality is still far behind. Lastly, moderator Suzuki complimented Taiwan for providing a role model to Asian nations by legalizing gay marriage.

Read the original press release here