Indigenous people are not criminals! --Joint petition for the indigenous hunter, Talum

Talum (Mr. Kuang-Lu, Wang) is an indigenous hunter in Taiwan. Talum is his traditional name in Bunun tribe. However, he was sentenced guilty because he practiced his culture rights, hunting. Talum went hunting because his 94-years-old sick mother wanted to eat the meat from the mountain.

On Oct. 29, Taiwan’s criminal Supreme Court rejected Talum’s appeal against the High Court’s judgment of guilty in two accusations, illegal possession of guns and illegal hunt for a Muntjac, which belongs to endangered species. Although article 21-1 of Wildlife Conservation Act excludes the indigenous people’s hunting for their traditional culture, the judge said it is not part of traditions to hunt for the family.

Talum was sentenced to 3 and half years imprisonment and a fine of seventy thousands NT Dollars. The Prosecutor-General Mr. Yen Da-ho filed an extraordinary appeal for him on Dec. 18. If the Supreme Court rejects the appeal, then the 56-years-old Bunun hunter, Talum, has to go to the jail. He has a 94-years-old mother and a 2-years-old son to take care of.

Fishing and hunting are the traditional culture of indigenous people in Taiwan for thousands of years. But it had been regarded as a criminal act that made many of the indigenous people in Taiwan convicted frequently.

The legislation for The Indigenous Peoples Basic Law in 2005, the indigenous peoples’ rights to fish, hunt and collect had been recognized. After the Implement Act of ICCPR and ICESCR passed in the parliament, the culture rights of indigenous people also protects in the two Covenants.

However, it’s not only Talum but also many indigenous people in Taiwan found guilty because of hunting or possessing gun in the past years. It totally ignored and violated article 19 of The Indigenous Peoples Basic Law and article 27 of ICCPR and article 15 of ICESCR.

We urgently appeal:

  1. The Supreme Court should retrial Talum’s case.
  2. President Ma should immediately conduct amnesty for Talum.
  3. Legislators should examine and reform the laws which against the indigenous peoples’ culture rights.
  4. The Judicial Yuan should review the effects of the special court for Indigenous people.
  5. The prosecutor, police and court must respect the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, ICCPR, ICESCR and The Indigenous Peoples Basic Law, when dealing with this kind of cases.

Signed by:

  • Taiwan Association for Human Rights
  • +166 Taiwanese NGOs
  • +8698 individuals
  • Informal Sector Service Center for Human Rights and Social Justice (INSEC),Nepal.
  • Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) 
  • Think Centre, Singapore
  • Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK), Bangladesh
  • Peoples' Vigilance Committee on Human Rights(PVCHR),India
  • Potohar Organization for Development Advocacy (PODA), Pakistan
  • National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP)
  • Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha(MASUM)
  • Komisi Untuk Orang Hilang Dan Korban Tindak Kekerasan (KONTRAS), Indonesia
  • Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates, Philippines
  • Globe International Center, Mongolia
  • The Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association