Statement on Taiwan – Community of Democracies

    Posted on: 2014-03-30 (台灣) 出版

Statement on Taiwan – Community of Democracies

We call on President Ma Ying-jeou of Taiwan to respect the civil rights of peaceful protesters, which is an essential requirement for a democratic society. We also call on the government to ensure that all further police measures to maintain order are carried out in accordance with the principle of proportionality and international human rights standards. Finally, we urge the government to allow full public and parliamentary discussion of critical national policies, such as the current trade agreement.

Statement on Taiwan, March 28, 2014

By the Nongovernmental Process of the Community of Democracies

Read about the Community of Democracies here…

The nongovernmental International Steering Committee of the Community of Democracies (ISC/CD) expresses its deep concern at the excessive use of force by the Taiwan police against peaceful student protesters in Taiwan.

On March 18, the main chamber of the Legislative Yuan (parliament) was “occupied” by a coalition of student and civil society activists, demanding that the parliament follow its own rules and comprehensively review the controversial Service Trade Agreement the government recently signed with China. The agreement has raised wide concerns in Taiwan about the economic and other impacts, and the parliament had previously agreed to an itemized review. However, on March 17, a committee member from the ruling party broke that agreement and tried to have the agreement sent to the floor for a package vote. This sparked large demonstrations, which led to the student “occupation.”

The “occupation” has been peaceful throughout, and the students were joined by thousands of demonstrators on the streets around the parliament compound. However, on the night of March 23, a breakaway group of demonstrators left the parliament area and succeeded in occupying the grounds of the main building of the Executive Yuan (containing the premier’s office), which quickly became a sit-in of thousands of students. Just after midnight on March 24, police in Taiwan began forcibly suppressing the sit-in, using armored riot police and water cannons. Over 100 demonstrators were injured. Although the police did eventually clear the cabinet office grounds, the original protests at the parliament have continued and remained peaceful until the recent violence.

We call on President Ma Ying-jeou of Taiwan to respect the civil rights of peaceful protesters, which is an essential requirement for a democratic society. We also call on the government to ensure that all further police measures to maintain order are carried out in accordance with the principle of proportionality and international human rights standards. Finally, we urge the government to allow full public and parliamentary discussion of critical national policies, such as the current trade agreement.

Background

On March 28, the International Steering Committee (ISC) of the Community of Democracies (CD) issued a statement expressing its deep concern for the on-going peaceful student movement for democracy and reform in Taiwan.  The statement also calls on President Ma Ying-jeou to respect the civil rights of the peaceful protesters and restrain from using excessive riot police force in violation of the basic international human rights norms against the sit-in students.

The CD is the world’s largest organization of democratic countries.  Established in 2000, it has been joined by over 120 countries, which are evaluated to have met the basic qualifications of democracy.

Organizationally, the CD consists of two large components: the IGO part of the Ministerial  Conference and the NGO segment of civil society ISC.  The former has its Permanent Secretariat in Warsaw, Poland; and the latter operates with its secretariat in Washington, DC.

Currently the CD has formed 5 key functional Work Groups (WG) dedicated to the tasks of enabling civil society, responding to national and transnational threats to democracy, promoting democracy education, supporting gender equality, and promoting development and democracy.

International Steering Committee

Paul Graham, Chairman, South Africa

Mantas Adomenas, Lithuania

Gustavo Amaya, El Salvador

Hoda Chalak, Lebanon

Soon Juan Chee, Singapore

Yuri Dzhibladze, Russia

João Carlos Espada, Portugal

Hannah Forster, The Gambia

David French, United Kingdom

Morton Halperin  and Robert LaGamma, United States

Sameer Jarrah, Jordan

Michael Kau, Taiwan

Oumar Makalou, Mali

Mohsen Marzouk, Tunisia

George Mathew, India

Matteo Mecacci, Italy

Gus Miclat, Philippines

Ilona Mihaies, Romania

Dorota Mitrus, Poland

Erdenejargal Perenlei  and Zanaa Jurmed, Mongolia

Carlos Ponce, Venezuela

Andrea Sanhueza, Chile

Reza Eslami Somea,  Iran

Vo Van Ai, Vietnam

Roel von Meijenfeldt, Netherlands

Dieudonné Zognong, Cameroon