On the afternoon of July 28, Vice President Lai Ching-te presided over the 19th meeting of the Presidential Office Indigenous Historical Justice and Transitional Justice Committee, thanking the Subcommittee on Land Matters for clarifying how indigenous peoples lost their lands, and the Subcommittee on History for their efforts in the field of education. With regard to the rights and obligations of the Pingpu peoples after their indigenous identity is recognized, the vice president expressed his hope to assess and restore the relevant rights based on two important principles: the objective needs of various indigenous peoples and the allocation of national resources. He also said he looks forward to the government and the representatives of indigenous groups engaging in parity-based dialogue through the committee to promote more communication and discussion and find viable solutions together.
In his remarks the vice president said that this was the committee's 19th meeting, and that it was a pleasure to get together with all the committee members and continue to promote transitional justice for indigenous peoples.
Policy implementation and social promotion, the vice president said, are the goals of the third-term committee. During the meeting the Subcommittee on Land Matters and Subcommittee on History will deliver briefings on the achievements and changes resulting from efforts across ministries and agencies and the cooperation of indigenous community members.
The vice president thanked the Subcommittee on Land Matters for undertaking several years of investigations to clarify the historical process by which indigenous peoples lost their lands. He said that he believes that the results of those investigations not only fill in gaps and rectify previous historical accounts, but can also become a foundation for subsequent discussions, negotiations, and reconciliation between the government and indigenous peoples. The vice president also thanked the Subcommittee on History for their efforts in the field of education, including working with the Ministry of Education to amend the Education Act for Indigenous Peoples and to incorporate a Council of Indigenous Peoples (CIP) book on major incidents in the history of indigenous peoples into the 12-year school curriculum to enrich historical perspectives on indigenous peoples.
The vice president stated that Pingpu peoples' demand to rectify their official name is an issue of great concern. Last year, he said, the Taiwan Constitutional Court (TCC) issued its judgement No. 17 (TCC Judgment 111-Hsien-Pan-17 (2022)) – the case on the indigenous peoples status for the Siraya people, and he added that we must continue our efforts to forge a more concrete consensus based on this shared spirit and goal. Noting that the TCC's judgement states that indigenous identity must be addressed before individual identity, the vice president said he has directed the CIP to handle subsequent legislative work with prudence and initiative so as to ensure that Pingpu peoples' right to indigenous identity is protected.
Vice President Lai then addressed the rights and obligations of Pingpu groups after obtaining their identity as indigenous peoples, saying that the relevant rights must be assessed and restored based on two important principles: the objective needs of indigenous peoples and the allocation of national resources.
Knowing that there is a diversity of expectations and opinions, the vice president expressed his hope that the government and the representatives of indigenous groups can engage in parity-based dialogue through the committee to promote more communication and discussion and find viable solutions together.
The vice president said that Indigenous Peoples' Day on August 1 is just a few days away. Since 2016, all levels of government have held activities to commemorate the occasion, showing that ethnic mainstreaming has gradually been integrated into government operations. Noting that this is the millet harvest festival season, the vice president wished the indigenous communities smooth and successful harvest events and ceremonies. He then invited all the members of the committee to share their perspectives and provide their valuable suggestions.
After his remarks, the vice president was briefed on the progress of the work of the Subcommittee on Land Matters and the Subcommittee on History, heard a report on TCC judgement No. 17 and its subsequent handling, and listened to committee member proposals and exchange of views to understand the committee's achievements and progress.