Taiwan First Nations Party launched in Taipei

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    The Taiwan First Nations Party, a political organization dedicated to promoting the rights of indigenous people nationwide, was officially founded in Taipei City Dec. 12. “We have been planning to set up such a party for a very long time,” TFNP Chairman Rungquan Lhkatafatu of the indigenous Thao tribe said in a phone interview with Taiwan Today Dec. 13. “After a series of aboriginal protest movements in 1978, the voice of our people disappeared from the political scene,” he said. “Although aborigines serve as legislators and other government officials, and the Cabinet-level Council of Indigenous Peoples and related local government offices have been launched over the years, we feel that preferential policies targeting us still take the form of favors from the powers that be.”

    Lhkatafatu added that the Indigenous Peoples Basic Law, which took effect in 2005, and the ROC Constitution articles granting people from different ethnic groups the right to take part in governmental affairs “are just declarations, with no substance.” “By establishing the TFNP, we hope to improve the nation’s laws and institutions through direct political participation, further preserving our cultures and languages,” Lhkatafatu said, adding that one way to achieve this goal would be for the ROC Constitution to include a chapter on indigenous peoples. In addition, the new party plans to fight for the rights of other disadvantaged groups such as laborers, veterans and the disabled, he noted. Party membership is not restricted to aborigines, he added. “We want to work for equal rights and benefits for everyone.” (THN)

    Write to Grace Kuo at mlkuo@mofa.gov.tw