TAIPEI, TAIWAN – Media OutReach – 10 September 2020 – In the advent of challenges posed by critical issues such as climate change, global pandemics and social justice, what can civilians in the modern era, those without power and resource, do to help? To look into this question, the Tang Prize Foundation, in collaboration with National Taiwan University, will stage the 2020 Tang Prize Masters’ Forum for Rule of Law from 10:30 to 13:00 (GMT+8), Taiwan time, on September 21. Three non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that jointly won the 2020 Tang Prize in Rule of Law, Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association, Dejusticia: the Center for Law, Justice and Society, and The Legal Agenda, will speak on the topic, “Exploring the Role of Non-Governmental Organizations in the Contemporary Civil Society,” sharing their experience of mobilizing the civil society to facilitate the application of law and to change the world for the better.
These three awardees are praised for utilizing strategic litigation, education and advocacy to advance legal institutions and protect socially vulnerable populations, in the milieus where the foundations of rule of law are under severe challenge. The Foundation hopes this Forum will be an opportunity for members of modern society who have long been concerned about public issues, including civil servants, experts and social advocate groups, to get together and get a deeper understanding of how these three organizations tap into the potential of civil society, and combine academic research and social activism to further the rule of law.
Also taking part in this Forum are leading advocates for the rule of law in Taiwan: Robin J. Winkler, former president of Environmental Jurist Association, Mei-Nu Yu, former chairperson of the Awakening Foundation, Clarence Chou, chairman of Taiwan Association for Human Rights, and Lucas Wang, chair of the International Cooperation Team of the Judicial Reform Foundation. They will be exchanging ideas with the Laureates about the dedicated work in the field they have been conducting over the years.
Hosted by Dr. Jiunn-rong Yeh, chair professor of National Taiwan University, this Forum features not only speakers and panelists of diverse backgrounds and specialties, but also former Tang Prize Laureates in Rule of Law, including former Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, Albie Sachs and former Special Representative for International Migration for the United Nations, Louise Arbour. Both will offer their insightful observations on the vital functions the NGOs can perform and the problems they are confronted with.
Recent stringent restrictions and regulations imposed by the governments to contain the COVID-19 outbreaks have become some of the most imminent challenges the NGOs around the world have to respond to. In addition to defending the fundamental rights of the marginalized groups, the NGOs have to prevent governments from disguising means to expand administrative power as measures against the pandemic, at the expense of individual liberty. At this critical period of time, we cordially invite you to join us in this Forum, to give voice to the people and to the environment we reside in collectively, to examine the “new normal” in the age of COVID-19, and to view different communities with different values and capabilities in the contemporary society from a new perspective.