President Tsai Ing-wen attended the opening ceremony of the 40th Congress of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) on the morning of October 21. She stated that throughout her time in office, her administration has worked to ensure stronger human rights protections across society, including removing job restrictions and discrimination on women in the workplace, initiating judicial reform, and strengthening our social safety net to better protect underprivileged groups. This year, she stated, Taiwan became the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage. We have also incorporated many major human rights treaties into our domestic law and we are working to make Taiwan a fairer, more just place, she said.
A transcript of the president's remarks follows:
I am delighted to be here with you all today. This is the first time in FIDH's nearly century-long history that a Congress has been held in Asia. So I think it's particularly meaningful that Taiwan was chosen as this year's venue. For everyone that has traveled so far to be here, I want to say: Welcome to Taiwan.
I would also like to take a moment to thank the Taiwan Association for Human Rights for all their hard work in bringing the FIDH's first Congress in Asia to Taiwan.
Throughout my time in office, our administration has worked to ensure stronger human rights protections across society.
We have worked to remove job restrictions, and discrimination, on women in the workplace. We have initiated judicial reform in an attempt to create a legal system that the people can depend on.
We have strengthened our social safety net to better protect underprivileged groups. And this year, Taiwan became the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage. I have to tell you that it was not an easy process to go through, but finally, we made it.
Though Taiwan is not a member of the UN, we have incorporated many major human rights treaties into our domestic law.
To ensure that we fully implement these protections, we have established a unique voluntary review process, inviting scholars from around the world to conduct reviews and communicate with civic groups and government agencies in Taiwan. This process has helped to weave human rights concepts into the fabric of our society.
Despite the progress we have made in human rights protections, we know that our work has just begun.
Of course, the government cannot do this work alone.
Taiwan's NGOs play a key role in this process. They help the government to find ways to better protect people's rights, and also help us communicate with the public.
Like democratization, human rights is a journey of many small steps. The path before us is long, and many issues remain unresolved. But we are working each and every day to make Taiwan a fairer, more just place. And I trust that all of you share in this mission with us.
I want to thank all of you once again for taking part in this Congress. I hope that we can learn from your experiences, and share Taiwan's journey with you as well. Finally, I want to thank all of you for your lifelong commitment to furthering human rights around the world. Thank you.
Also in attendance were Legislative Yuan Secretary-General Lin Jih-jia (林志嘉), Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Miguel Li-jey Tsao (曹立傑), Taiwan Foundation for Democracy President Liao Ford Fu-Te (廖福特), Taiwan Association for Human Rights Chairman Clarence Chou (周宇修), FIDH President Dimitris Christopoulos, and FIDH Chief Executive Officer Eléonore Morel.