On 30 November 2017, Taiwanese human rights lawyer Stephen Lee gave a talk at York University on “National Independence Movements & International Human Rights Law: Perspectives from Taiwan.” The event was presented by the Jack & Mae Nathanson Centre and the York Centre for Asian Research with community partner, the Taiwanese Human Rights Association of Canada.
The talk is now available on the Nathanson Centre’s YouTube channel:
Stephen Lee Sheng-hsiung 李勝雄 is Taiwan’s most prominent human rights lawyer, serving as defense in sensitive political cases since the Martial Law prosecutions of the Kaohsiung Incident in 1980, as well as initiating campaigns outside the court to end martial law, end the blacklisting of dissidents, and in support of Taiwan independence.
Stephen Lee’s talk addressed Taiwanese human rights in the context of recent declarations of independence after referenda in Kurdistan and Cataluña, which confronted states with the question of the right of self-determination of peoples. The lecture looks at the role of international law and treaties in supporting self-determination for Taiwan and the frustrating real politics on the ground. Lee uses the Taiwanese case as a basis for a wider discussion of international law and real politics.
Lee’s talk was followed by discussant comments from Professor Craig Scott (Osgoode Hall Law School).