A Brief Report by IDEA Taiwan and Lo-Sheng Residents
July 22 2008 Enactment of the Bill of Human Rights Protection for the People Affected by Hansen’s Disease in Taiwan Abstract
July 18, " Hansen’s disease Patients Human Rights Protection and Compensation Act" have been enacted . This bill was proposed in 2005, we have been promoting to enact this bill for these years, and finally it was passed by the Legislative Yuan (the Diet of Taiwan) last week.
The government will make compensation for past incorrect policy of segregations which was succeeded the policy of Japanese colonial government before. However, there still exists a gap between the government and NGOs chiefly about the assessment with length of segregation period. Taiwan government would not admit any inappropriate appropriates after they started to adopt MDT. They claim that although social discrimination and stigma still existed in recent decades, but there is no correlation with past public health policy directly.
On the other hands, authorities did not agree to implement new specific and effective measures for ensuring human rights of the people affected by Hansen ’s disease. For instance we have been requesting to form an advisory panel which will make proposal about intending policy.
Although we were not convinced by the government and affirmed total solution for human rights issues of the people affected by Hansen’s disease in Taiwan, but some legislators from ruling party approved proposal by the authorities. History
Lo-Sheng sanatorium was established in 1930 under Japanese colonial rule in the name of Taiwan govern-general of Japan Empire. It reflected the extremely isolation policy of Japanese government in the era. After WWII, when KMT government requisite Taiwan island, Lo-Sheng Sanatorium was also succeeded by new government. Because of these historical backgrounds, in Taiwan, Hansen’s disease patients/ ex-patients had been deprived our freedom, dignity, health rights, families, homeland, chance for occupation or education, and everything. We had been suffered by violations of human rights, including forcible labor, prohibition of marriage in early days, forcible sterilization, forcible abortion, forced to enroll clinical trials, serious medical malpractice and etc. Residents and their children have lived in the sanatorium for many years and became members of the community. Even now, we are living in Lo-Sheng and there are still about 280 residents.
Taiwan government finally apologize to the past mistakes with Hansen's disease segregation policy and now will make up for the victims. In another way, We will express it's also a triumphantly monument for us the ex-patients had been segregated in Lo-Sheng Sanatorium in Taiwan after 1945 and now to insist of Human Rights and save our Sanatorium in recent years. We believe it is a new page in the world history with Hansen ’s disease ex-patients.
In October 2005, we got a justly judgment from Tokyo court that Japan government should give compensation to the ex-Patients who had segregated in Lo-Sheng Sanatorium in colonial period. At that time, this judgment affected Taiwan president to promise will make a law to fulfill human rights of the people affected by Hansen’s disease in Taiwan, but the bill drafted by government was just intending to give some money aiming to end our objection, which did not care the Human Rights and our wish to preserve our homeland, Lo-Sheng sanatorium.
Lo-Sheng residents decided to promote " Hansen ’s Disease Patients Human Rights Protection and Compensation Act " by themselves. Thus, We drafted another law " Hansen ’s Disease Patients Human Rights Protection and Compensation Act ",which promoted by our group , IDEA Taiwan , Hansen ’s Disease Human Rights Legislative Alliance from December 16, 2005. Content of the drafted bill included; a formal apologize from the government in Taiwan, compensation, living rights of Lo-Sheng residents, total lifetime health care for all the survivors, preserving the sanatorium as a national memorial site. Our Sustainable Struggle
We continued to promote this bill for two years and eight months, and experienced many defeats but never have given up. Finally we have achieved much support from many NGOs and individuals from domestic and international.
Although, the act was passed in Legislative Yuan, it does not mean our campaigns for saving Lo Sheng have turned out to be a final success. We know that construction of Taipei Rapid Transit System is still continue. The authorities of central and local governments intend to end our sanatorium, they are planning to restart demolish next month. We must stay with our struggle in future. We are looking forward to your sustainable support and assistance in the days ahead.
president, Lee Tien-Pei, IDEA Taiwan