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Assembly Law amendments restrict rights


A group of Taiwanese NGOs held a press conference at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei this morning to criticise the proposed amendments to the Parade and Assembly Law (集會遊行法). A-gu has a recent post explaining the law and the amendments. The Legislative Yuan will vote on the amendments tomorrow.

On 31 March the Legislative Yuan ratified two UN Covenants on human rights. Article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states that, “The right of peaceful assembly shall be recognized.” However, despite this the KMT had pushed for the amendments of the Parade and Assembly Law which would further restrict people’s right to protest.

Wu Hao-ren (吳豪人) of the Taiwan Association for Human Rights (台灣人權促進會) said that during the Chen Yunlin incident rights in Taiwan had gone backward 20 years. The right to stop or break up a demonstration is still held by the police. Giving police the power to refuse applications to protest was equivalent to an assumption of guilt.

Other speakers at the press conference were Lin Feng-cheng (林峯正) of the Judicial Reform Foundation, Sun You-lian (孫友聯) of the Taiwan Labor Front and Gao Yong-cheng (高涌誠) of the Taipei Bar Association. Members of the Wild Strawberry Movement were also present.

Members of the Alliance of Referendum for Taiwan were protesting separately outside the Legislative Yuan. Some of them also held up signs opposing the Parade and Assembly Law.

*A protest will be held against the Parade and Assembly Law amendments tomorrow (Tuesday 28 April) from 9:00am outside the Legislative Yuan.

Update: Activists pan changes to Assembly and Parade Act – Taipei Times, 28 April 2009

The Legislative Yuan did not put the amendments to a vote on Tuesday 28 April. They might be voted on later in the week.

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Comment from Nikki
Time 29 April 2009 at 11:16 am

Hi David :)
Let’s hope this law never get passed. The right to peaceful assembly is a basic human right guaranteed in democratic countries (freedom of expression!). In Canada it is a fundamental human right under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I don’t know why the KMT government is giving the police the authority to interfere with this right. :(