Human rights should not be put to a vote: UN official visiting Taipei

Bruce Knotts considers it ridiculous to have human rights issues voted and thus decided by the mass population

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Bruce Knotts, co-chair of the UN NGO Committee on Human Rights (Screen capture from WLFD's Facebook page)

Bruce Knotts, co-chair of the UN NGO Committee on Human Rights (Screen capture from WLFD's Facebook page)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A United Nations (UN) official criticized the three anti-gay rights referendums taken place on Nov. 24 in Taiwan, during a human rights forum held in Taipei on Monday.

Issues pertaining to human rights “should never be put to a vote,” said Bruce Knotts, co-chair of the UN NGO Committee on Human Rights, in his opening remarks made to the 2018 International Forum on Freedom and Democracy, as reported by Liberty Times.

He was referring to the referendums proposed by anti-gay marriage groups in Taiwan that aimed to exclude same-sex couples from establishing legal unions under the current law, primarily the Civil Code, and to prevent elementary and junior high schools from embedding LGBT teaching.

Having visited Taiwan several times, Knotts criticized the Protestant Christian churches in Taiwan for allocating whopping monetary and political resources to hold the referendums in opposition to same-sex marriage, even though Taiwan’s constitutional court ruled in favor of it in 2016.

Knotts considers it ridiculous to have human rights issues voted and thus decided by the mass population, a thing Taiwanese society did during last Saturday’s referendum votes, the report says.

“The road to the death camps started with the trappings of populist democracy,” Knotts said, referring to the legislation of the Nuremburg Laws by the German Parliament in the 1930s, which deprived the Jewish people of their civil rights. The Jews were subsequently prohibited from taking part in elections, going into teaching, or serving in the military, among sever other affairs.

The forum was co-hosted by the UN NGO/DPI Executive Committee and World League for Freedom and Democracy (WLFD), a Taipei-based non-governmental organization that was formally recognized as an anti-Communist association during the Cold War period, on the theme of “The Goal and Progress of the Global Sustainable Democracy Development.”