Head of state Ma Ying-jeou
Head of government Wu Den-yih (replaced Liu Chao-shiuan
Death penalty retentionist
In March, Taiwan ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. In December, an implementation act provided for a review of all laws, regulations, ordinances and administrative measures to ensure they are aligned to the Covenants within two years. A national human rights reporting system will be established to monitor implementation.
The 2006 moratorium on the death penalty remained de facto only, despite the Minister of Justice announcing her intention to move towards abolition in 2008. The court of final appeal upheld the death sentence of 13 people, bringing the total number of inmates awaiting execution to 44. There are a total of 79 individuals on death row.
With ratification of the International Covenants, the number of crimes punishable by death is expected to fall from 52 (under 11 acts) to 20.
Despite public demand, there was no progress on the government’s proposal to amend the Assembly and Parade Law.
In January, the legislature passed a law against human trafficking. In November, Article 80 of the Social Order Maintenance Act, which imposes penalties on prostitutes but not their clients, was declared unconstitutional by the Council of Grand Justices. The Ministry of the Interior announced that it plans to decriminalize the sex industry.
In November, two versions of a new draft Law on Refugees were submitted to the Cabinet. The draft excluding refugees from China, who are dealt with in the Act Governing Relations Between People on the Two Sides of the Strait, was submitted to the Legislative Yuan in December.