Lawmakers, refugee advocates call for refugee act

Lawmakers and leading advocates for refugees have called on Taiwan to adopt a proposed law protecting refugees.

Leaders from refugee organizations in New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Thailand attended the Refugee Roundtable Taiwan on Tuesday. The forum was co-hosted by the Taiwan Association of Human Rights, the Asian Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN) and a human rights committee made up of lawmakers from different parties.

During a press conference Wednesday, head of APRRN Yiombi Thona, voiced support for Taiwan's efforts to accommodate refugees. Thona, who was once a refugee himself, said he hopes Taiwan's Legislature will pass the proposed refugee act.

Meanwhile, DPP lawmaker Yu Mei-nu said that confidentiality is important during the processing of refugees. Yu referred to the recent case of Zhang Xiangzhong, a Chinese tourist who unsuccessfully applied for political asylum in Taiwan. She said that media coverage of cases like Zhang's could lead to retribution against refugees' families and should be avoided.

Yu also said that it is important to avoid stereotypes that cast refugees in a negative light, since many of them are highly trained professionals in their home countries.

Source: Radio Taiwan International