President Tsai presides over 15th meeting of Presidential Office Indigenous Historical Justice and Transitional Justice Committee
On April 15, President Tsai Ing-wen convened and presided over the 15th meeting of the Presidential Office Indigenous Historical Justice and Transitional Justice Committee. Vice President Lai Ching-te also attended the approximately two-hour meeting in his role as a deputy convener of the committee.
The meeting included reports on subcommittee work planning and the establishment of a foundation to compensate the Yami (Tao) tribe for the storage of nuclear waste on their reserved lands on Lanyu (Orchid Island), as well as discussion on using national land planning to resolve issues regarding indigenous buildings and land use.
The first report on subcommittee work planning was delivered by the chairs of the three subcommittees: Council of Indigenous Peoples (CIP) Deputy Minister Qucung Qalavangan (谷縱．喀勒芳安), chair of the Subcommittee on Land Matters; Deputy Minister of Education Tsai Ching-Hwa (蔡清華), chair of the Subcommittee on History; and Vice Minister of Culture Lee Lien-chuan (李連權), chair of the Subcommittee on Reconciliation. After discussing the report with the committee members, the president asked the subcommittees to take the members' views into consideration.
The second report on the establishment of a foundation to compensate the Yami (Tao) tribe for the Lanyu Storage Site was delivered by CIP Minister Icyang Parod (夷將．拔路兒), who briefed the committee on an investigation into the establishment of the nuclear waste storage facility. Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs Tseng Wen-sheng (曾文生) also briefed the committee on the progress made in setting up the foundation, explaining that the foundation's board of directors held its first meeting on March 30, 2021, at which it elected Huang Bi-mei (黃碧妹), a Yami (Tao) member of the Taitung County Council, as chairperson and approved the board's articles of association and work plan, and approved a provision in the articles of association which declared that for NT$2 billion of its endowment the foundation will only be allowed to spend interest accrued on the principal, while for another NT$550 million of the endowment will be allowed to draw down the principal, provided that any drawdown is carried out in accordance with prescribed procedures. The Executive Yuan approved an endowment establishment proposal on April 9, and follow-up matters pertaining to registration of the foundation will be handled by the Ministry of Economic Affairs.
Following the reports, Committee Member Syamen Womzas (夏曼威廉斯), representative of the Yami (Tao) tribe, thanked President Tsai for calling for the fact-finding investigation and the establishment of the compensation fund. He also reiterated his tribe's appeal for the removal of nuclear waste from their tribal lands on Lanyu. President Tsai stated that the final storage site for nuclear waste is a major national issue, and expressed hope that the foundation will serve as a platform for the Ministry of Economic Affairs and indigenous peoples to engage in discussions on this issue.
Committee members made 36 proposals and three extemporaneous motions during the course of the meeting. One proposal, submitted by Thao tribe representative Magaitan Lhkatafatu on the subject of national land planning, was addressed by Deputy Interior Minister Chiu Chang-yueh (邱昌嶽), who explained the current status of national land planning work, and by CIP Deputy Minister Qucung Qalavangan (谷縱．喀勒芳安), who offered a response and discussed the proposal with the committee. Presiding in lieu of President Tsai, Vice President Lai then issued the following directive regarding the proposal:
From Ministry of the Interior and CIP reports about land use issues, which are of the utmost concern to indigenous peoples, we can now see a path to resolving these issues. We expect the Ministry of the Interior, CIP, and local governments to formulate overall plans and implement those solutions. When allocating national land, they must visit tribal communities often to provide explanations for their decisions, so that local governments can adequately meet tribal land usage needs and realize the spirit of the National Land Planning Act.