Monday, March 24, 2014

Urgent Action Request to Amnesty

Letter to Amnesty Urgent Action <>, (cc Alex Neve)

Subject: Riot Police Use Force to Evict Protesters in Taipei, Taiwan 

Dear Marilyn McKim, 

The Taiwanese Human Rights Association of Canada is concerned about the ongoing protests in Taiwan that have escalated over the past 48 hours, particularly regarding the excessive use of force used to evict protesters. Please see the summary below, and consider making this issue an urgent action. 


Austin Yan
Vice President, Taiwanese Human Rights Association of Canada


Ongoing protests that started on March 17 in Taipei escalated Sunday, March 23, as protesters occupied Taiwan's Executive Yuan (Premier's offices) provoking a rapid and violet police response resulting in 137  njured as of 7:00 am, March 24, local time. The protest stems from widespread opposition to the Cross-strait Services Trade Agreement (CSSTA), a controversial agreement opening Taiwan's services industry to Chinese businesses, potentially compromising Taiwan's democracy and sovereignty due to increased Chinese economic and political pressure. The trade pact was initially negotiated behind closed doors in June 2013. Public opposition resulted in a government promise to review the draft agreement, clause-by-clause. Yet, on March 17 last week, the chair of the Legislature Internal Administrative Committee, Chang Ching-chung, declared the review to have passed though no review was ever held. Public outrage resulted in the student-led protests including the student occupation of the legislature that evening. Since then, over ten thousand have joined in the streets surrounding Taiwan's Legislative buildings.

Tensions are high in Taiwan with the protesters demanding that the trade pact be retracted and that a law on oversight of Taiwan-China negotiations be passed, to ensure transparency in future contacts. A press release from Amnesty International on March 19 stated that "the situation is clearly tense and security forces must show restraint... authorities must ensure the rights of all those protesting are upheld and respected". The use of force, including water cannons, pepper spray, and beatings, to violently evict a group of protesters yesterday demonstrates a lack of restraint by riot police and the government, raising serious concerns for the safety and rights of non-violent protesters.

The Taiwanese Human Rights Association of Canada asks that you express your concern for democracy in Taiwan and urge restraint on all parties, especially the government which gives orders to the police. We hope that a peaceful resolution can be achieved leading to a resumption of clause –by-clause review of this bill, and that efforts to improve transparency and accountability in the government will preserve and maintain democracy and human rights for the people of Taiwan.

Please send appeals to:

President of the Republic of China (Taiwan)
Ma Ying-jeou
No. 122, Sec. 1, Chongqing S. Rd., Zhongzheng District
Taipei City 10048, Taiwan (ROC) 
Tel: +886-2-2311-3731


Amnesty Press release: Taiwan: Restraint Urged in Protests Over China Trade Deal 

Focus Taiwan News: 137 sent to hospitals during week-long protest: bureau

The Diplomat: Riot Police Crack Down on Taiwanese Protesters

Wall Street Journal: Taiwan Police Evict Protesters From Cabinet Building