Asia’s City upon a hill? Human rights in Taiwan-EU relations

Key information

11:00 am to 12:30 pm
Main Building, SOAS University of London, 10 Thornhaugh St, London WC1H 0XG

About this event

Drawing on Ian Manners’ notion of “Normative Power Europe,” this talk evaluates the ability of the EU to influence the behavior of other actors while considering Taiwan as a special case due to its contested statehood. 

Cooperation on human rights constitutes one of the pillars of relations between Taiwan and the European Union (EU). This is evident in initiatives, including the annual human rights consultations and the ongoing implementation of the inaugural EU-Taiwan Engagement Support Facility for local CSOs. 

While the EU recognizes Taiwan as a “like-minded partner” that boasts “one of the most progressive human rights policies in Asia,” there are still some outstanding issues of concern for Brussels. These include Taiwan’s continued use of the death penalty, abysmal working and living conditions of migrant workers, and discrimination of vulnerable persons, including members of the transgender community. 

Consequently, this talk surveys the tools for promoting Taiwan-EU cooperation on these issues and evaluates their effectiveness. Additionally, it examines how Taiwan attaches its identity to international norms, including human rights, in an effort to expand its international space.

This talk relates to the constructivist process of identity formation and the English School’s intersubjective realm of world society as it examines Taiwan’s engagement with the international regime for human rights as a tool for circumventing diplomatic isolation. It is also informed by personal experience of working on policy-oriented projects aimed at bolstering Taiwan-EU cooperation on human rights. 

Meet the speaker

Marcin Jerzewski

Marcin Jerzewski serves as Head of the Taiwan Office of the European Values Center for Security Policy, a Prague-based think tank. Concurrently, he is also Research Fellow at Taiwan NextGen Foundation and a contributor to the China Observers in Central Eastern Europe (CHOICE) platform of the Czech Association for International Affairs (AMO). 

A sinologist and political scientist, he was a Ministry of Education Taiwan Fellow in the International Master’s Program in International Studies at the National Chengchi University and studied at the University of Richmond and the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. Marcin is also a frequent commentator on the politics and international relations of Taiwan, with his analyses cited in outlets including Al Jazeera, BBC, The Economist, and TaiwanPlus, among many others.