Post-meeting press conference, fourth Presidential Office Indigenous Historical Justice and Transitional Justice Committee
The Presidential Office Indigenous Historical Justice and Transitional Justice Committee held its fourth meeting on the afternoon of December 28, with Convener President Tsai Ing-wen presiding over the approximately two-hour and 30-minute session. After the meeting, the committee's two Deputy Conveners Walis Perin (瓦歷斯．貝林) and Pasuya Poiconu (浦忠成) joined its Executive Secretary Yao Jen-to (姚人多) and Deputy Executive Secretary Icyang Parod (夷將‧拔路兒) as well as President Huang Yu-cheng (黃育徵) of Taiwan Sugar Corporation (TSC) at a press conference to explain what happened at the meeting.
Deputy Convener Pasuya Poiconu stated that one special report and three items for discussion were on the meeting agenda. The special report, delivered by TSC President Huang Yu-cheng, focused on TSC's participation in the committee's work. President Huang said that TSC will do everything it can to face up to historical facts and, acting in a spirit of cooperation and sharing, will seek to ensure sustainable use of the land.
Deputy Convener Pasuya Poiconu pointed out that President Tsai had praised TSC's sincerity and feels that the dialogue has shown progress. The president commended TSC for its ongoing cooperation with the committee's subcommittee on land matters as it tries to sift through historical records to determine the historical truth regarding indigenous lands.
Deputy Convener Pasuya Poiconu noted that during the meeting, committee members had discussed the draft version of the committee's annual work report and adopted a resolution approving a revised report, which is scheduled to be formally released in January 2018. That report, he said, will enable the public to see what the committee has achieved over the past year.
Deputy Convener Poiconu pointed out that committee members proposed 19 formal motions and three extempore motions at the meeting. Most of the members were especially concerned about motions calling for passage of an act governing indigenous historical and transitional justice and an amendment to the Mining Act, so those two issues were discussed by the whole committee.
Commenting on the effort to secure passage of an act governing indigenous historical and transitional justice, Deputy Convener Pasuya Poiconu noted that the Legislative Yuan's Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee recently adopted a resolution calling on the Executive Yuan to submit a draft bill to the Legislative Yuan for deliberations within the next six months. After the committee members had a spirited discussion on this matter, President Tsai instructed Minister without Portfolio Lin Wan-i (林萬億) to relay the members' views to the Executive Yuan to ensure that they will keep the committee's position and function in mind when drafting the bill.
As for the draft amendment to the Mining Act, Deputy Convener Pasuya Poiconu reported that after a number of committee members voiced their views, the president said that the renewal of Asia Cement Corporation's mining permit in Xincheng Township, Hualien County is now under administrative litigation, and the Legislative Yuan is deliberating a draft amendment to the Mining Act, but the committee should be doing more on this issue.
Deputy Convener Pasuya Poiconu then explained that President Tsai suggested that the Ministry of Economic Affairs invite Mr. Teyra Yudaw (帖喇．尤道), the committee member representing the Truku tribe who proposed the resolution, three committee members representing indigenous peoples, and a representative of the local Truku tribal council to discuss the situation with Asia Cement Corporation and the possibility of resolving the dispute. The president also asked Minister without Portfolio Lin Wan-i and Minister of the Council of Indigenous Peoples Icyang Parod to provide all possible assistance.
Deputy Convener Pasuya Poiconu also reported that the president believes that this matter is a benchmark case in the campaign for indigenous historical and transitional justice, and also an important social issue in Taiwan that merits extended dialogue to find a solution. The president's suggestion was unanimously adopted as a committee resolution.
TSC President Huang said that it was a great honor to take part in the committee's historic work, and that to truly become a pluralistic society, Taiwan must respect the lifestyle forces and values of all ethnic groups living on this land. In this spirit, he said, we hope that transitional justice efforts will be successful. Two factors will be crucial to this success. The first is mutual trust within our society. And the second is the ability to cooperate. In keeping with this spirit, said President Huang, TSC hopes to serve as a bellwether that helps prompt sober reflection on Taiwan's unjust past and spur the building of a society characterized by communication, cooperation, and trust. To achieve these things, we will need to engage in an open and transparent examination of the past so that together we can build a better future, he said.
Deputy Conveners Pasuya Poiconu and Walis Perin then joined TSC President Huang in shaking hands before the podium in a symbol of the positive dialogue between TSC and the indigenous peoples, and their shared support for the sustainable use of Taiwan's land resources.