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EU urges Taiwan to abolish death penalty in human rights talks

EU urges Taiwan to abolish death penalty in human rights talks

(CNA photo)

The European Union (EU) reiterated its strong opposition to the death penalty in annual human rights talks with Taiwan on Wednesday, as part of an agenda that also included LGBT issues, migrant workers and the rights of Taiwanese arrested abroad.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the third annual Human Rights Consultations were conducted via video conferencing, in what the two sides described in a joint press release as a "friendly, open and constructive atmosphere."

Aside from providing updates on their respective policies to advance human rights, the two sides also raised areas of ongoing concern with each other.

The EU registered its opposition to an execution carried out by Taiwan on April 1, and "called on Taiwan to reinstate a de facto moratorium and pursue a policy towards the abolition of the death penalty," the statement said.

The EU also encouraged Taiwan to strengthen protections for migrant workers, particularly domestic caregivers and workers in the fishing industry, to guarantee that they are not subject to discrimination or exploitation.

Meanwhile, Taiwan expressed concern about the protection of human rights for Taiwanese people arrested or detained in the EU, the statement said, apparently referencing efforts by Beijing to have Taiwanese criminal suspects extradited to China.

Taiwan also brought attention to the situation of Lee Ming-che (李明哲), a Taiwanese activist who has been serving a five-year prison term in China since 2017 on charges of subversion of state power.

On the issue of LGBT rights, the EU noted Taiwan's progress since its legalization of same-sex marriage in 2019, the statement said.

The talks were attended by three senior officials from the European External Action Service -- Marc Giacomini, Luisa Ragher and Jonathan Hatwell -- and by Minister without Portfolio Lo Ping-cheng (羅秉成) on behalf of Taiwan. (By Tang Pei-chun and Matthew Mazzetta)Enditem/ls