Saturday, 8 May 2010

Taiwan: Asian human rights criticism

TAIWAN: ADPAN Appeals for Taiwan to continue to Take a Lead
Statement by ADPAN

The Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN) joins others around the world in regretting that the Presidential Office of Taiwan accepted the resignation of former Minister of Justice Wang Ching-feng on 11 March amid political pressure against the moratorium of the death penalty. ADPAN urges the Taiwanese government to maintain the moratorium and to take a lead towards abolition among Asian countries.

In 2001, the Taiwanese Government announced a policy to gradually abolish the death penalty. The number of executions every year since then had been on the decline. In 2006, mandatory death sentences were eliminated, and no executions have been carried out since the same year. This is in keeping with the global trend toward abolition evident in UN General Assembly resolutions in 2007 and 2008 calling for a global moratorium on executions as a first step toward abolition.

On 14 March, President Ma Ying-jeou pointed out that the general public of Taiwan needs to engage in open discussion on the death penalty and that Taiwan cannot afford to ignore this international trend toward abolition.

ADPAN appeals to the Taiwanese government to do everything within its power to continue its efforts toward abolition, and that any future Minister of Justice shall take all necessary measures to lead Taiwan towards abolition, including ensuring the life of all 44 prisoners currently on death row.

More than two-thirds of the countries of the world have abolished the death penalty in law or in practice. World opinion and practice is shifting inexorably towards abolition.

Representing a regional voice for abolition, ADPAN welcomes the steps taken thus far by the Taiwanese government towards abolition, but urges the Taiwan government to ensure that it does not fall behind other countries in the region that have abolished or are restricting the use of the death penalty: Mongolia’s president announced an official moratorium in January, South Korea has not executed anyone for over 12 years, the Philippines and the Cook Islands respectively abolished the death penalty in 2006 and 2007.

ADPAN is a cross-regional network made up of over 40 members including lawyers, NGOs and human rights activists from 22 countries mainly from Asia and the Pacific.

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