Taiwan Church News
Jan 11 – 17, 2016
Aboriginal Lawmakers Are Urged To Restore Hunting Rights For The Indigenous
Reported by Lin Chia-jin
The case of Bunun hunter Talum, sentenced a jail term of three years and six months for hunting Formosan Serow and Reeves’s muntjac with a shotgun in 2013, causes a wide spread concern about the hunting rights of the aborigines in Taiwan society. It also triggers a hot fire exchange on the aboriginal policy during the recent presidential TV debate.
On 11 January, just about one week before the presidential election, some aboriginal groups cooperated with Citizen Congress Watch(CCW) to publicize a name list of aboriginal lawmaker candidates who promised to amend Wildlife Conservation Act and Regulation Permitting Guns, Ammunition and Knives. In order to press home these bills, the indigenous voters were especially urged to monitor these candidates once they have won their campaigns.
Rev. Omi Wilang, general secretary of Indigenous Peoples Action Coalition of Taiwan(IPACT) and secretary of PCT’s Indigenous Ministry Committee, affirms the pledge of Ms Tsai Ing-wen who is the only presidential candidate willing to deliver an official apology to the aboriginal peoples and amend the Indigenous Peoples Basic Laws.
Mr. Hong Kuo-jun, director of policy department at CCW, points out many current aboriginal legislators fail their jobs as a decent lawmaker. For example, Ms Kao Jin Su-mei is listed as a failed legislator within CCW watch list for her six terms of high absence in a total 8 terms of parliamentary assemblies; Mr Kung Wen-chi seldom delivers or amends the bills related to aboriginal policy or institutes. “Submitting the bills in the congress is not a too difficult thing, as many bills related to the aboriginal have been prepared ready by some aboriginal groups”, said Hong, “if only these legislators would release them into the the procedures of law-reading!”
Rev. Lin Wei-lien, secretary of PCT’s Church and Society Committee, expresses that one-thirds of PCT members are the aboriginal. “For the aboriginal peoples in Taiwan, using shotgun to hunt is a human right and also a basic right to survive. How could their living tools be confisticated by the government?”, says Rev. Lin, “besides, from their traditional cultures and ancestors’ teaching, the aboriginal peoples know how to tell the wildlife preservation from abusive killings. it needs not to confuse the proper rights of hunting with the abuse of guns!”
Mr Pasang Hsiao, member of Association for Taiwan Indigenous Peoples’ Policy, reminds Taiwan society that over 50,000 aborigines had been charged or put into jail for the aboriginal hunting since Animal Protection Act is launched in 1998. “Do these aboriginal lawmakers care this serious issue or not?”, laments Hsiao.
Translated by Peter Wolfe