President Tsai Ing-wen marked Human Rights Day on December 10 by addressing the 2020 Asia Democracy and Human Rights Award ceremony via video at the invitation of the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy (TFD). She congratulated the award winner the Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions (APF), headquartered in Australia, and emphasized that Taiwan is determined to play a more proactive role in promoting international human rights. We also hope to work together with our global partners to promote and educate about human rights ideals, so that our shared beliefs will flourish and bear fruit around the world, the president stated.
A translation of President Tsai's remarks follows:
First, I would like to congratulate the APF for receiving the 2020 Asia Democracy and Human Rights Award.
Over the past 14 years, the APF has worked hard to ensure that human rights ideals take root and flourish in the Asia-Pacific region. It has held a wide variety of activities to promote and foster human rights concepts, inspiring our respect and admiration.
The APF has long supported countries in the Asia-Pacific region in establishing independent national human rights institutions, and strengthening existing institutions. From having five members when it was founded, APF membership now includes national human rights institutions from 25 Asia-Pacific countries.
The APF gives member institutions a platform to share experiences from their own countries, and cooperate in responding to shared human rights challenges, so that human rights in the Asia-Pacific region can continue to move forward.
Receiving the Asia Democracy and Human Rights Award today not only highlights the APF's contributions, but also expresses our sincere gratitude and respect for all of the APF's partners.
The APF winning this year's award is especially significant both for Taiwan and the world.
This past August, Taiwan's National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) began operations. For us, that was an important milestone for human rights development. We are committed to this path, on which the APF is Taiwan's cooperative partner in connecting with the world.
The APF has closely followed Taiwan's progress in setting up our NHRC. Last month, Commission Chair Chen Chu (陳菊) also held discussions with APF secretariat representatives, exchanging views on many issues.
I have always believed that Taiwan's human rights experience can make a unique contribution to the international community. So I want to take this opportunity to give special thanks to the APF for supporting and assisting the development of human rights in Taiwan.
Looking back on Taiwan's path to democracy and human rights, we faced many hardships along the way. But we were not alone. Through the efforts of many people, the TFD was founded 17 years ago, becoming Asia's first national-level foundation for the promotion of democracy. In addition to continuously deepening Taiwan's democracy, it also forged connections with all of you watching this video, and many partners with common goals, to contribute to promoting our shared values together.
In the past, Taiwanese faced authoritarian rule and serious human rights issues. But by showing unity and working together, breakthroughs and changes followed one after another. This is the path we have travelled together with our partners overseas.
The global pandemic has made this a very challenging year. As this award shows, the APF has brought together the efforts and collective achievements of various groups, once again reminding the world of the power of cross-border cooperation.
In the future, Taiwan will continue our close cooperation with the APF, working together to increase our impact. We also hope that the APF will continue to expand this alliance for democracy and human rights and achieve even greater success.
In this year, when Taiwan established our NHRC, and on this day, which marks Human Rights Day, I want to tell our friends around the world that Taiwan is determined to play a more proactive role in promoting international human rights. We also hope to work together with everyone to promote and educate about human rights ideals, so that our shared beliefs will flourish and bear fruit around the world. Thank you.