Asian human rights case OFFER


#1

I would like to make an offer of assistance to anyone who has personal knowledge of an Asian human rights case here in Taiwan.

I have assisted in the following cases over the past few years:
(1) In 1998 I assisted an Indonesian gentleman married to a Taiwanese lady to file a lawsuit against the local Household Registration Bureau (HRB) in his area of residence. That was in connection with his daughter’s application for Taiwan citizenship. Under the Nationality Law of 1929, the mother’s citizenship was irrelevant, and unless the father was an ROC citizen, the children could not be considered to have ROC nationality. We finally got a decision from the Administrative Court in March 2000, and were ready to file with the Supreme Court, however the law had already been changed on Feb. 9, 2000. Under the new law his daughter was able to obtain ROC citizenship.

(2) I helped an unmarried and stateless lady from Burma, who has been living in Taipei County for over ten years, obtain ROC citizenship for her two stateless children. According to the Nationality Law, since the mother is stateless, (in theory) the children should obtain ROC citizenship upon birth in Taiwan. However, the local HRB would not even accept the application, and we fought a two year court battle to get the children’s rights.

(3) I am currently handling the legal affairs of a Philippine woman married to an ROC national who has overstayed her visa in Taiwan. There are a number of complicating factors in my opinion. Ideally, she should be able to renew her visa in Taiwan without leaving and coming back. Although currently under an NPA deportation order, I was able to obtained a court injunction against it so she has a legal status for the time being.

(4) I have been assisting a refugee from northern Thailand who entered Taiwan on an ROC passport (Type 2 citizen) and has been unable to obtain residency rights in the ROC. His case is currently in the Superior Administrative Court. After that we will move on to the Supreme Court, to challenge the constitutionality of the entire legal formulation of Type 2 citizen category.

I would be interested in taking on another significant human rights case at this time for the benefit of a disadvantaged Asian individual. Today is November 16, 2002, and I would hope to make a decision on the case before January 16, 2003. I will offer these services on a [b]pro bono[/b] basis, with the intent of advancing the human rights situation here in Taiwan.

As a prerequisite, the person involved must be willing to step forward. The case will not be done anonymously. This person’s active participation will be required, especially when we get to the court stage. My general methodology (as used in the above four cases) is to directly accompany the individual to court. During the presentation and questioning, I discuss the legal aspects of the case, while the person involved discusses their own situation.

The ideal case will be some Asian person who is here in Taiwan, intending to stay in Taiwan long term, and has a significant legal problem in the area of human rights. At the minimum, this person must be easily contactable by regular mail, telephone, and FAX. In particular, this person must have a good mailing address where he/she can receive registered mail. This person must be serious about the entire matter, and to be able to keep in regular contact with me.

My intent is to take on a case where the resolution of this person’s dilemma would be of benefit to other persons who might be in a similar situation. In other words I am looking for something with broad implications. For example, in the case (3) described above, I am looking to obtain a court ruling to give a precedent that a foreign spouse married to an ROC national who overstays a visa in Taiwan is entitled to pay a fine and renew the visa directly in the ROC. In the case (4) described above, I am looking to obtain a court ruling to give a precedent that a Type 2 citizen (overseas Chinese) who is in possession of an ROC passport is entitled to an ID card, Household Registration, and the right of abode in Taiwan.

I am sorry that I am currently unable to assist individuals who are now in prison.

I would hope to obtain full written details on the situation of any particular human rights case, along with copies of all relevant documents, passport, official letters, commentary, notes, previous legal research, etc. for my evaluation. All materials should be sent by registered mail to me at 1st Fl., No. 158 Hsing Yun Street, Nei Hu District, Taipei 114. There is a 24-hour guard on duty in our building to receive registered mail and express packages. (“Hsing” is star, and “Yun” is cloud.) I am frequently out of the office.