On the morning of November 20, President Tsai Ing-wen attended the Review Meeting of the ROC's Initial Report under the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), where she reiterated the government's determination to safeguard human rights and stressed that, together, we will continue to implement the CRC's provisions.
On behalf of Taiwan, President Tsai opened by welcoming the members of the International Review Committee who came from afar. She then thanked them for devoting their efforts to children's rights in Taiwan, spending the past several months reading the Initial Report and preparing a list of issues.
The president said the government is determined to express two things by holding the Review Meeting, and arranging for a dialogue between the international experts and representatives of various civic associations in Taiwan. First, Taiwan is eager to work with the international community and do more to protect human rights, and has already incorporated the CRC and four other core United Nations human rights conventions into domestic law.
President Tsai noted that even though Taiwan is not a UN member, we still take it upon ourselves to review international human rights treaties according to UN standards, and are working steadily to enhance human rights education. This shows our determination to weave international human rights standards into the fabric of our society.
The second thing the government wants to express, said the president, is that protecting the best interests of children is a top priority. She added that when former President Ma Ying-jeou was in office, Taiwan enacted the Enforcement Act of the CRC. Since the Democratic Progressive Party came to power, the current administration has continued to promote related matters, and adopted its Initial Report under the CRC.
President Tsai emphasized that this means that children's concerns are everyone's responsibility. Taiwanese society takes the protection of children's rights very seriously, so neither the ruling nor the opposition party can ignore its importance. So the government will continue to implement the convention while protecting the dignity and rights of children. In safeguarding the rights and interests of the underprivileged, especially, we must prioritize helping children who've been left behind so they can keep pace with their peers. "This is our responsibility," said the president.
And lastly, President Tsai said that in the details of our laws and regulations and our practical efforts, we need to rely on the experience of the Review Committee members, and the participation of local civic groups to ensure better protection of children's rights and interests. The president expressed hope that everyone can work together to do more for children.
In addition to the five members of the International Review Committee—Chairman Jakob Egbert Doek; Judith Karp, former Vice-chairperson of UN Committee on the Rights of the Child; Nigel Cantwell, Consultant to international organizations on child protection policies; Professor John Tobin of Melbourne Law School; and Professor Laura Lundy of the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work, Queen's University Belfast in the United Kingdom—others from Taiwan present at the meeting included: Minister without Portfolio Lin Wan-i (林萬億); Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Lu Pau-Ching (呂寶靜); Administrative Deputy Minister of the Ministry of the Interior Chiu Chang-yueh (邱昌嶽); Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Paul Wen-liang Chang (章文樑); Policy Deputy Minister of National Defense Pu Tze Chun (蒲澤春); Administrative Deputy Minister of Education Lin Teng-Chiao (林騰蛟); and Legislators Yu Mei-nu (尤美女), Lee Li-feng (李麗芬), and Lu Sun-ling (呂孫綾).