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CY President Chen leads delegation to 13th IOI World Conference

  • PostDate:2024-06-05

Control Yuan President Chen Chu and CY international affairs committee members Lin Wen-cheng and Jao Yung-ching took part in the 13th International Ombudsman Institute (IOI) World Conference in The Hague from May 12 to 17. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the previous 12th World Conference was delayed until 2021 and held online. With the return of an in-person meeting this year, it was the first opportunity for the president and the sixth-term Control Yuan Members to meet with ombudsmen as well as representatives of human rights commissions from countries in all six world regions. The delegation exchanged views with other participants and discussed current key global issues regarding government oversight and human rights.
The IOI is the only international organization that promotes cooperation between ombudsman institutions worldwide and advocates for good governance and human rights. The IOI currently has a membership of 257 national and regional ombudsman and human rights institutions. The National Ombudsman of the Netherlands hosted the 13th IOI World Conference, which was titled “Act together for our tomorrow.” The agenda included a world board meeting, regional meetings, a general assembly, and a conference. On May 13, Chen addressed a meeting of the Australasian and Pacific Ombudsman Region—of which the CY is a member. She thanked APOR members for their long-standing support of the CY and warmly invited them to Taiwan for the 37th APOR annual conference in September 2025. During the general assembly on May 14, Chen interacted with ombudsmen from countries including Ukraine, Peru, Switzerland, Japan, Belgium, Sweden, Austria, Australia, and Cook Islands. Chen said she looked forward to greater opportunities for exchanges and friendly interactions between Taiwan and ombudsmen worldwide to jointly address global issues.
The themes of the three-day conference from May 15 to 17 were climate change and living conditions, value dilemmas, inclusiveness and outreach for vulnerable and marginalized groups, and future generations. Events included concurrent breakout meetings, keynote speeches by prominent guests, and talks and question and answer sessions with ombudsmen from around the world. The conference was opened on May 15 by King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands. In his remarks, he thanked the delegates for safeguarding human rights, combatting government injustice, actively exposing government problems, and enhancing good governance. In these unstable times, the king urged ombudsmen to continue to work for sustainability and social inclusivity. On May 16, CY Member Lin Wen-cheng spoke in a breakout session on outreach to indigenous peoples, tribes, and minorities. He introduced the results of efforts by Taiwan and the CY to protect the rights of indigenous peoples and shared his experiences in exercising control powers. The session was moderated by Maija Sakslin, deputy parliamentary ombudsman of Finland. Sakslin praised Lin’s presentation of case studies and initiatives, saying it gave the audience a clear understanding of Taiwan’s efforts to protect indigenous peoples.
While transiting through Austria before the conference, the CY delegation called on the Austrian Ombudsman Board, which is also the IOI Secretariat. The group exchanged views with Office Director Dr. Michael Mauerer on the ombudsman systems and developments in human rights work in Taiwan and Austria, deepening the friendship between the two sides. During the conference in the Netherlands, the delegation met with IOI Secretary General and Austrian Ombudsperson Gaby Schwarz. Chen reaffirmed the CY’s support for and participation in the IOI and invited Schwarz to the 37th APOR conference in Taiwan to advance interregional exchanges and interactions between members.
Human rights protection in the Netherlands has a long history and is widely recognized. The country is party to many international human rights treaties. Moreover, The Hague is an important center for numerous international human rights organizations. Taking advantage of her time in the city, Chen called on several institutions in her capacity as the first chairperson of Taiwan’s National Human Rights Commission, which is a position above ministerial level. She engaged in discussions on the experiences of Taiwan and the Netherlands in protection of human rights in separate meetings with Raymond de Roon, acting chairman of the Dutch parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee (which oversees human rights issues) and Mariëtte Hamer, Dutch government commissioner for combatting inappropriate behavior and sexual violence. Chen expressed hope that the two sides would deepen cooperation and exchanges. In addition, Chen took part in an event jointly organized by Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and The Hague Humanity Hub, watching the documentary Invisible Nation about the history of Taiwan’s democratic development with other guests and audience members. As one of the people interviewed in the film, Chen herself took part in a post-screening discussion on Taiwan’s struggle for democracy, freedom, and human rights as well as the continuing determination of Taiwanese people to defend their democratic country.
In exercising their powers, Chen and CY members visited Taiwan’s representative offices in Austria and the Netherlands to learn about the status of official work in economics, trade, diplomacy, expatriate affairs, culture, and other areas. Chen thanked the foreign service officials for upholding their posts, promoting diplomacy, and providing Taiwanese nationals with services abroad. In addition, the delegation joined a meeting of the overseas Taiwanese community to get a better understanding of expatriate issues. Chen thanked the community leaders and members for giving Taiwan more opportunities for participation and room for development on the international stage. At the invitation of MOFA and the Overseas Community Affairs Council, the CY delegation also took part in the opening ceremony of the annual meeting of the Council of Taiwanese Chambers of Commerce in Europe. In her remarks, Chen thanked the chamber members for the services they offered Taiwanese nationals traveling in Europe, their collective efforts in expanding business opportunities, as well as their outstanding and productive contributions to enhancing trade and cultural exchanges between Taiwan and European countries.