The Act to Implement the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities of Taiwan has been practiced since December 3, 2014, in which Taiwan actively promised to practice various policies for persons with disabilities according to the convention in order to spur and ensure their human rights and dignity. At the same time, the Executive Yuan also formed the “Committee for the Promotion of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities” in which the Ministry without Portfolio as the chairperson and regularly invites academics, experts, organizations of persons with disabilities, and various government authorities to collaborate, research, and assess related issues regarding the rights of persons with disabilities. It also supervises how the convention has been practiced in different levels of government authorities.
Implementation of the CRPD Second Report was released on December 1, 2020. According to the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the report was made after 14 domestic review meetings which included northern, central, southern, and eastern Taiwan and invited people with disabilities and their representatives, relevant experts, scholars and the public who are concerned about disability matters to discuss the content fully. In 2021, the Ministry of Health and Welfare completed the English, audiobook, Braille version, Taiwan Sign Language version, and an easy-to-read version of the Implementation of the CRPD Second Report to ensure that information regarding the state report can be obtained by all persons with disabilities and provide their valuable opinions on it.
The Ministry of Health and Welfare pointed out that to form the public atmosphere of treating persons with disabilities with a fair and respectful attitude, all levels of government authorities have completed the amendment of 445 legal regulations and administrative measures eliminating discriminatory text and the impact on the rights and interests of persons with disabilities. The spirit of reasonable accommodation has been included in the Prison Act and Detention Act, and relevant laws including the People with Disabilities Rights Protection Act will also be amended accordingly to proactively protect the individual needs of those with disabilities. The Development of National Languages Act specifies that Taiwan Sign Language is a national language. This will protect the rights of those with hearing or speech impairments to use Taiwan Sign Language while taking part in education and learning activities, communication, and public services. Accessible buildings, transportation, and roads are continuously being upgraded, and more ATMs have been added to meet the needs of wheelchair users and the users with visual impairment. The easy-to-read concept is being promoted in education, employment, voting, and cultural activities, aimed at enhancing the accessibility of information.
The Ministry of Health and Welfare especially pointed out that the major focus of persons with disabilities is an accessible environment for receiving medical services. Currently, nearly 90 percent of hospitals provide accessible routes in the hospital and more than 80 percent of them have service counters designated for seniors and persons with disabilities. Besides its continuous efforts to promote the recognition of friendly clinics, the Ministry of Health and Welfare is also discussing the amendment of the Standards of Medical Institution Establishment, in which friendly facilities would be listed as one of the standards. The Ministry of Health and Welfare also mentioned that targeting the various impacts on persons with disabilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, related issues were discussed in the meetings of the Committee for the Promotion of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Executive Yuan in April 2020, April and September 2021. In these meetings, the Committee demanded that all authorities should provide assistance within their capacity in the short term as soon as possible, such as persons with disabilities’ rights on obtaining pandemic preventing materials, the accessibility of pandemic preventing information, etc. It also demanded that the Taiwan Center for Disease Control stipulate guidance on large scale infectious diseases for various kinds of underprivileged populations to ensure that they can maintain a safe livelihood under such risky scenarios.
The Ministry of Health and Welfare stressed that to support the communities and livelihood of persons with disabilities, it will continue to create the service institution of “community first & institution second”. Community service spots for persons with disabilities have increased from 579 locations in 2018 to 726 locations in June 2021, achieving a 25.3% increase rate. At the same time, in the 10-Year Project of Long-term Care 2.0, it has included persons of disabilities of all ages. By September 2021, there were 1,290 household institutions, 936 community institutions, and 1,890 residential institutions. The number has doubled when compared with Long-term Care 1.0.
The Ministry of Health and Welfare stated that all ministries will aggressively take steps to strategically put in effort to promote various operations. It will once again invite international human rights experts for CRPD Report Review Meeting in 2022. It expects that through international exchanges, the services for persons with disabilities and accessible environment of Taiwan could be further improved. By then, the Ministry of Health and Welfare welcomes the participation of representatives of persons with disabilities and domestic experts to further illustrate the next step for implementing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities through a meaningful dialogue platform to make Taiwan a better place for.