On December 1st, the Taiwan’s Second Report under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) Press Conference was held in the Taipei Welfare Service Center for People with Disabilities by the Ministry of Health and Welfare. Lin Wan-Yi, the chairperson of the Committee for the Promotion of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Executive Yuan, presented the achievements of the government’s implementation of CRPD over the past 4 years. An international review meeting is expected to be organized next year (2021) to demonstrate Taiwan’s determination towards the participation and protection of international human rights affairs.
Lin pointed out that in order to promote and ensure the human rights and dignity of those with disabilities, Taiwan is committed to follow the provisions of international conventions. The ROC (Taiwan)’s Initial report under the CRPD was published in 2016, and 5 international experts were invited to Taiwan to carry out a review on the report in 2017. These 5 international experts recognized Taiwan’s voluntary to follow the provisions, which showed that the government is willing to make more efforts to legislate and to protect the rights and interests of persons with disabilities. All government ministries have adjusted and developed policies relating to persons with disabilities based on the concluding observations of the initial report of ROC (Taiwan) under the CRPD over the past 4 years. In the future, policies will be implemented in a step-by-step and strategic manner in order to improve Taiwan’s accessible environment and support those with disabilities to live independently while fully and equally participating in society.
Lin emphasized that there are a number of accomplishments in the Second Report including: the amendments of 423 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. Chen Yi-Jun, a young person with intellectual disabilities, who was invited to share her experience that participating in reviewing the first draft of the Second Report, said that making information easy to read was an important step that enabled her to voice her views in public policy discussions, and that it is CRPD’s core spirit to include the full and effective participation of the persons with disabilities.
According to the Ministry of Health and Welfare, various accessible formats including English, audiobook, Braille, Taiwan sign language, and easy-to-read versions of Taiwan’s Second Report under the CRPD are expected to be completed in 2021. International CRPD experts from Japan, Korea, Australia, and Canada will be invited to Taiwan to review the report. The Ministry of Health and Welfare also welcomes domestic experts and representative organizations of persons with disabilities to take part in the review to jointly construct and implement the next stage of the CRPD, further improving the rights of those with disabilities in Taiwan.