For Immediate Release
Washington DC – April 10, 2009
Contact: (202) 547-3686
The Enhancement And Preservation Of Taiwan’s Human Rights A Critical Clause In The Taiwan Relations Act, Taiwanese Groups State
A dozen Taiwanese American organizations gathered in the nation’s capital today to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA). The groups applauded the swift passage of the bill thirty years ago in view of the Carter administration’s decision to cut off diplomatic ties with Taiwan. The groups issued a joint statement highlighting the important yet often overlooked human rights clause in the Act and urged the Obama administration to reaffirm U.S. resolute support for Taiwan’s security and democracy.
“The TRA is widely deemed the ‘cornerstone’ of U.S.-Taiwan relations and most praised for having codified the U.S. commitment to security and stability in the region. However, international observers and decision makers tend to overlook one important clause in the Act: the human rights clause in Section (2)C, which is the legal basis for U.S. concern about the Taiwan government’s disregard last fall for human rights and civil liberties,” FAPA President Bob Yang said.
Section (2) C of the Taiwan Relations Act states that “The preservation and enhancement of the human rights of all the people on Taiwan are hereby reaffirmed as objectives of the United States.”
Yang continued: “As Taiwanese Americans who immigrated to the U.S. in the 60’s and 70’s, during the high time of martial law in Taiwan, we are as grateful to the U.S. for the human rights language in the Act as well as for the security language. And with Taiwan being a fledgling, young democracy, and having witnessed setbacks against democracies in Southeast Asia, Middle East and other parts of the world, we are and must continue to be vigilant in safeguarding Taiwan’s democracy and freedom.”
Yang concluded: “While the TRA is essential to ensure the continuation of U.S. political, economic, cultural and other relations with Taiwan and has been instrumental in maintaining the security and stability in the region for the past three decades, the TRA has its limits mainly because the geopolitical environment today is more complex and differs from the one thirty years ago. We urge the Obama administration and Congress to find ways that will enhance the U.S.-Taiwan relationship, arrest the Chinese growing military threat against Taiwan, and strengthen Taiwan’s international visibility.”