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Scholars form organization to promote justice

Scholars form organization to promote justice

A group of liberal scholars formed a new organization yesterday to pursue the truth about human rights abuses during Taiwan's infamous martial law era as part of their efforts to to promote reconciliation and put the country's authoritarian past to rest.
"The new organization - Taiwan Truth and Reconciliation Commission or Taiwan TRC - will dig for the truth of human rights violations and political persecution during the previous authoritarian rule and clarify political and legal responsibilities of those cases, " said Wu Nai-teh, a board director of the non-governmental organization.
Noting that for a country to make a successful transition to democracy, it must make a full accounting of the abuses committed by the previous administration, Wu said pursuing transitional justice requires not only a well-rounded or circumspect discourse but also long-term hard work.
"We need a private truth commission to explore a broad picture of human rights suppression, abuses and violations during the authoritarian period," Wu said, adding that getting to the bottom of truth is the bedrock for national reconciliation.
He further said digging for previous human rights abuses and political persecution should not be aimed at getting a basis for prosecution or punishment of perpetrators.
Self-reflection
The findings should mainly be used as teaching materials to inspire self-reflection and prevent recurrence of similar atrocities, Wu said.
Acknowledging that the Taiwan TRC's work agenda might cause misgivings of the country's two bitter rival groups - the ruling Democratic Progressive Party-led "pan-green" camp and the main opposition Kuomintang-led "pan-blue alliance, " Wu said the work is not just a political one, but also a cultural movement.
So long as the new organization can push society to gradually face and acknowledge what happened in the past and draw inspirations from past incidents, Wu said he believes that the Taiwan TRC will get sympathy and support.
In addition to looking into the previously classified historical documents, Wu said the organization will launch a publicity campaign to help the public better understand the gist of transitional justice, foster social consensus and push for legislation of relevant laws to pave the way for materialization of transitional justice.
"Seeking transitional justice involves many dimensions of work, " Wu said, adding that common to all forms of justice is official acknowledgement of what happened.
As official disclosure of the truth is a form of justice, Wu said the former ruling party and relevant government organs should offer access to information or archives held by them.


Updated : 2021-06-20 05:56 GMT+08:00