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Taiwan and the European Union hold 2nd Human Rights Consultations
On 14 May, in Brussels, the European Union (EU) and Taiwan held their second annual Human Rights Consultations in a friendly, open and constructive atmosphere.

These Consultations confirmed that the EU and Taiwan share the same values of democracy, and respect for human rights and the rule of law, and are seeking closer cooperation where their interests and values converge. Taiwan and the EU exchanged views on human rights situations, including in Taiwan and in the EU.

The EU commended Taiwan for recent developments on human rights. The EU called upon the Taiwanese authorities to apply and maintain a de facto moratorium in relation to the death penalty in Taiwan. The EU regretted the resumption of executions in Taiwan in 2018 and reiterated its long-standing position that the death penalty has no deterrent effect and is an inhumane form of punishment that cannot be reversed. Taiwan stated its position on the issue of death penalty and will continue to work with all relevant partners.

During the Consultations, Taiwan reiterated the need to ensure the protection of human rights for Taiwanese people detained or imprisoned in the EU. Taiwan and the EU discussed the situation of Mr. Lee Ming-Che. 

A specific point of the agenda was devoted to Taiwan's achievements in incorporating the provisions of the main UN human rights conventions and putting in place a solid peer-review mechanism. The EU called on Taiwan to incorporate the provisions of further UN Human Rights Conventions in Taiwan's legal system, as well as to establish a human rights action plan and a fully-fledged National Human Rights Institution, and to use human rights indicators as benchmarks to measure progress.

The EU and Taiwan also focused on migrant workers' rights, especially in the fishing industry, as well as on domestic and industrial workers, underlining the need to effectively ensure that they are fully protected against discrimination, abuse or exploitation. In this regard, both Taiwan and EU welcomed the holding of the “EU-Taiwan Workshop on Working and Living Conditions for Fishers” in Taiwan held on 6-7 May. This year, discussions also allowed reviewing conditions in detention centres and prisons. The EU and Taiwan updated each other on respective policies on LGBTI and gender equality, and exchanged for the first time on the rights of indigenous peoples.

The EU and Taiwan also discussed business and human rights and reviewed Taiwan's progress towards the evaluation of a national Action Plan on Business and Human Rights. The EU further offered its support in this regard. The two sides held first discussions on the impact of disinformation on freedom of speech online and offline and the responsibility of social media in this regard.

Taiwan and the EU agreed to hold annual Human Rights Consultations next year in Taipei and to continue close cooperation on the topics raised during the Consultations.
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