TAIPEI: President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan has reiterated the government’s commitment to achieving transitional justice for the nation’s indigenous peoples in an impromptu meeting with protesters in front of the Office of the President in the capital, days after offering an official apology to indigenous groups on behalf of the government.
Acknowledging the indigenous protesters’ concerns and suggestions, Tsai reaffirmed the government’s determination to address past injustices and promote reconciliation through the establishment of an Indigenous Historical Justice and Transitional Justice Commission (IHJTJC) under the Office of the President. When asked where she places the nation’s indigenous peoples by one of the demonstrators, the president held her hands to her heart and responded, “You are here.”
A local newspaper cited a member of the National Security Council as saying Tsai will embark on a tour of indigenous communities across the country in the next two weeks to discuss the government’s plans and gather opinions.
Tsai made the formal apology for the discrimination and neglect suffered by Taiwan’s indigenous peoples over the past four centuries at an event commemorating Indigenous People’s Day at the Office of the President. During the address, she said the government will pursue reconciliation by setting up the IHJTJC, implementing the Indigenous Peoples Basic Law, and establishing a platform for eventual indigenous autonomy.
The president also vowed her administration would give greater attention to the economic and social development of indigenous peoples and create an Indigenous Legal Service Center to address conflicts between tribal customs and modern laws.
According to the Cabinet-level Council of Indigenous Peoples (CIP), indigenous Malayo-Polynesian peoples have lived in Taiwan for millennia.