MINNEAPOLIS (April 19, 2013) — After Taiwan’s President Ma and other Taiwanese government officials assured The Advocates for Human Rights, a Minneapolis-based non-profit organization, in meetings this week that Taiwan is dedicated to reducing the use of the death penalty, six people were executed today in four prisons in that country.
“Executing six people is not ‘reducing the use of the death penalty,’” said Rosalyn Park, The Advocates’ staff member who coordinates work against the death penalty and serves on the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty steering committee. “By executing these six people, Taiwan sends the wrong message to the international community. Moreover, this step contravenes the international trend toward abolition of the death penalty.”
It is both ironic and disappointing that the execution orders were signed the same day she and other members of the delegation met with President Ma and high-ranking Taiwanese government officials, according to Park.
“The Advocates is also very concerned about the secrecy surrounding executions in Taiwan, whereby the government allegedly does not notify the families of sentenced persons about the executions of prisoners,” said Park. “Often, those families find out about the executions of their loved ones through the media.”
The failure to notify the families violates the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, a United Nations treaty the Taiwanese government has ratified and to which it is legally bound, according to Park.
The Advocates was in Taiwan this week as part of a delegation of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty, which was invited to meet in Taiwan by the Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty, a World Coalition steering committee member, in order to raise awareness about the death penalty in that country.
The Advocates for Human Rights, a nonprofit organization headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which is celebrating its 30th year of working locally and globally to fight injustice, restore peace, save lives, and build the human rights movement. To learn more about The Advocates’ local, national, and international work, visit theadvocatesforhumanrights.org.