International Human Rights Experts Review on Taiwan

The following are the official links to the "Concluding Observations" on the Government of Taiwan and its Implementation of the International Human Rights Covenants, adopted by the International Group of Independent Experts Review Panel.


Official English version (PDF):

PRELIMINARY Chinese translation (done on the spot (over 1 night!) by the Ministry of Justice, which then felt it necessary to refer to the Presidential Advisory Committee for review and final approval, which hasn't been completed yet....maybe that's also why they only published it in Word format):

Once again, the two best sources for more information are from the government, in English:

From the government, in Chinese:

From the Covenants Watch alliance of Taiwanese civil society organizations, bilingual:

Most of the main documentation appears in the large table in the middle of the page, where CW decided to follow the UN style as closely as possible. Thus, the various language versions of all the documents are marked as EN or CH (they added the character 中 for the ease of local readers....) And the format of the table has the same headings in the same order that you will find on the official websites of the UN for every country's review under any of these treaties.... Note that there are two tables, one for each of the Covenants (they put the ICCPR first, so scroll a bit further down for the ICESCR table)

For those who are new to the UN process, but really interested in  digging into it, there are basically 5 stages, I put them here in chronological order:

  1. State Report
  2. "Information from other sources", UN-speak for any kind of reports submitted by NGOs, etc. in response to the State Report, also commonly known as "shadow reports." For Taiwan this time, there is one book-length shadow report by CW, plus many article-length reports from a variety of NGOs concerned with specific issues.
  3. "List of Issues" -- these were produced by the experts before they came to Taiwan, based on their readings of the State Report and the shadow reports. These indicate where they found the most serious concerns, or where they felt the biggest need for more information or clarification (e.g. if the State Report was unclear, etc.)
  4. "Written Replies" to the List of Issues. The government was required to produce this before the review session. However, since the List itself was only sent by the experts in early February, they had to really scramble. The quality of the English suffered a lot as a result.... NGOs were also invited to make responses, either directly to the List of Issues, or responses to the government's responses. In UN-speak, these are known as "Alternative Replies." CW complied all of these into a "Compendium of Alternative Replies" for the convenience of the reviewers. But again, this was done at the last minute, so there are quality issues with the translations, etc... (and this document doesn't exist in Chinese -- CW encouraged the various NGOs to write in English wherever possible to save time getting them to the reviewers....)
  5. Concluding Observations -- this is the main "report" that was discussed in the news, etc.

For someone who is digging into a particular issue (freedom of expression, say, or housing rights, etc. etc.) It would be worthwhile to read the relevant sections of each of these types of documents, so you can see the back and forth between the government, the reviewers, and the NGOs. Then, when they release the video of the review sessions (known in UN speak as "constructive dialogue"), you could watch those portions of the sessions.

With all of that development, you should be able to see how the Concluding Observations were reached on that issue. You would also be able to see many points that were raised along the way but which did not make it into the Concluding Observations (e.g. the referendum thresholds).

In principle, and according to UN practice, there is also a 6th stage following the review, including "Comments and Follow-up Response," "Information on Follow-Up," and "Letters sent to the State Party." These are all blank for now, but I think CW just wanted to act on the assumption that serious follow-up would in due course be undertaken. I think most of the international experts are hoping for that as well. So this story is not yet finished! Stay tuned....

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