Taiwan urged to immediately suspend death penalty

Taipei-- International human rights experts have called on Taiwan to suspend its use of the death penalty, expressing regret that the nation has failed to make any progress in abolishing capital punishment.

The suspension is one of 78 comments and suggestions, made by independent experts from 10 countries at a four-day meeting, after being invited to attend and review the Republic of China's national report on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).

The international review of Taiwan's national report on the treaties, the second of its kind since the international covenants were written into Taiwan's domestic law in 2009, started in Taipei on Jan. 16. The foreign experts presented their conclusions on Thursday night.

Publicizing the conclusions, Minister without Portfolio Lin Mei-chu (???) said on Friday that the international review committee, which consists of 10 foreign experts on human rights, expressed deep regret that "Taiwan has made no progress whatsoever in abolishing the most extreme form of punishment."

Although capital punishment is increasingly defined in international law as a violation of human dignity, it remains on the books in Taiwan, because it is said most Taiwanese support the death penalty. In addition, there has been no fall in the number of executions carried out in recent years, Lin quoted the committee as noting.

The review committee urged the Taiwan government and President Tsai Ing-wen (???) to educate people as to the cruel and inhumane nature of the death penalty, rather than citing public opinion as a justification.

It also strongly suggested that Taiwan should immediately suspend the death penalty and abolish it in the near future, Lin said.

Opinion polls in Taiwan on the abolishment of capital punishment have consistently shown that a vast majority of the public is opposed to the reform.

In the five-year period beginning in 2011, five or six death-row inmates were executed in Taiwan each year. More than 40 people remain on death row.

In addition, the committee said that it would be delighted to see Taiwan's government make same-sex marriage legal as that would make the nation a leader in the field of opposing gender identity discrimination in the Asia-Pacific region, according to Lin.

Lin added that the government would review the committee's 78 comments and recommendations and use them as guidelines in the future promotion of human rights.

The international review meeting wrapped up on Friday.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel