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P. Chang: Address to World Summit 2017

Address to World Summit 2017, Seoul, Korea, February 1 to 5, 2017


My speech today addresses how the Control Yuan of the Republic of China (R.O.C.) rises to the challenges of our time by promoting good governance and protecting human rights.

As with most ombudsman offices around the world, the Control Yuan deals with complaints filed by the general public against the government’s decisions, actions or omissions. Our role is to protect people against violation of rights, abuse of power, corruption, errors, negligence, unfair decisions and maladministration, and to improve public administration as well as to make the government’s actions more open and its administration more accountable to the public.

The Control Yuan is vested by the Constitution to receive citizen’s complaints against any government misconduct or negligence, to conduct investigation into maladministration and corruption, and to make recommendations to government agencies. Last year, the Control Yuan received about 13,000 cases of complaints lodged by the public. The Control Yuan also has the power to initiate impeachment procedures against government officials who have been found to seriously violate the law. The initiation of the impeachment procedure requires at least two Control Yuan members acting together, and can only begin after no less than nine members, excluding members who initiated the case, have examined the case. In 2016, 63 cases of impeachment were brought before a panel discussion. Fifty-nine of them were found to be justified and were referred for disciplinary action. I know from my experience that the Control Yuan (generally, we call it the Ombudsman Office) can give people a voice when all other options have been exhausted and can help restore peace, security and development in public service, which all concern human rights.

The issue of human rights has become universal in recent years. Based on practical experience, a country must fulfill at least two prerequisites to realize human rights protection. The first is to establish norms by means of passing domestic human right–related bills and ratifying international human rights treaties. The second is to establish mechanisms, which help set up institutions in charge of human rights implementation.

Today Taiwan is committed to proactively fulfilling its obligations under international human rights law. In 2000, the Control Yuan set up a “Human Rights Protection Committee.” The main functions of this Committee are to uncover and investigate cases involving human rights violations, to recommend appropriate acts concerning human rights, to monitor the implementation of international human rights norms by different levels of governments, to coordinate with domestic and international human rights groups, to hold workshops on human rights matters, and to publish thematic human rights investigation reports.

As a matter of fact, many human rights violations are government-related, and most ombudsman offices investigate complaints of human rights violations arising from maladministration or misconduct of government departments. When government agencies do not exercise their powers properly, it is possible to violate human rights. Sometimes government agencies might infringe upon human rights directly, and very often government agencies overlook human rights abuse. In practice, the Control Yuan functions as a protector of human rights, because nearly half of the cases it handles are related to human rights issues. Out of the 251 investigative reports the Control Yuan completed in 2016, 104 cases were related to human rights issues, accounting for 41 percent. The so-called “third generation of human rights” or “collective rights” involve economic, social, cultural, as well as development rights, and the realization of these rights requires the government to proactively and positively conduct it work or intervene. Therefore, by supervising the government’s conduct, the Control Yuan helps protect fundamental human rights and promote collective rights.

Human rights protection is a developing theme that has engaged strongly with governments worldwide. It will take a concerted effort across different public agencies to properly address this theme and its issues. Despite the differences among nations in history, political and legal systems, and priorities in human rights protection that result in national human rights institutions under different names and models, the ombudsman office is one that helps to make it happen. This is probably the reason why ombudsman offices are internationally regarded as one type of national human rights institutions. And the Control Yuan, being the only national ombudsman office in the R.O.C, plays not only a crucial role in safeguarding people against corruption and promoting good governance, but also in protecting human rights.


The following table shows the number of cases related to human rights issues:

Human Rights Investigations Completed by the Control Yuan in 2016

Nature of Case Investigations Completed
No. of Cases Percentage (%)
Total 251 100.00%
Non-human-rights investigations 148 58.96%
Human rights investigations 103 41.04%
1. Right to freedom 1 0.40%
2. Right to equality 2 0.80%
3. Right to health and life 25 9.96%
4. Right to work 11 4.38%
5. Right to property 21 8.37%
6. Political rights 0 0.00%
7. Right to judicial protection 13 5.18%
8. Right to cultural life 2 0.80%
9. Right to education 6 2.39%
10. Environmental rights 10 3.98%
11. Right to social security 6 2.39%
12. Others 6 2.39%

Source: The Control Yuan


Dr. Po-Ya Chang, President, The Control Yuan, Taiwan

Dr. Po-Ya Chang is President of The Control Yuan, Taiwan and founder of the Non-Partisan Solidarity Union, a political party in Taiwan. Dr. Chang served as Chairperson of the Central Election Commission, President of UPF Taiwan, President of Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP) Taiwan, Minister of the Interior concurrently as Taiwan Provincial Governor, Minister of Department of Health, Legislator, Mayor of Chiayi City Government, and Director and Professor of Public Health Studies at Kaohsiung Medical University.

To go to the 2017 World Summit Conference Schedule, click here.