Understanding Taiwan’s Indigenous Laws:A Brief Inquiry
Joas Platteeuw
Different articles explain the emergence of legal safeguards for Taiwan‘s indigenous peoples, and how the promulgation of indigenous laws can be understood from a political point of view. This article builds on these previous writings, while simultaneously scrutinizing indigenous laws from a legal pluralist perspective. In so doing, academic articles, newspapers, and policy documents used as sources.
The article indicates that there have been a number of legal changes, indicating an accelerated dedication to the cause of Taiwan‘s indigenous peoples after the democratic transition. It becomes clear that cross-strait relations, international legitimacy, and national political dynamics all play an important role in the promulgation of indigenous laws within Taiwan‘s legal framework. At the same time, a legal pluralist point of view indicates the importance of indigenous customary law, as national laws prohibiting practices such as hunting have not managed to completely eradicate indigenous practices. In fact, in some cases indigenous customary law creates a certain leniency in the national Taiwanese legal framework. However, when more fundamental issues such as autonomy are touched upon, either indigenous peoples do not have the political means to have these claims honored, or customary law is incompatible with Taiwan‘s national legal framework to such an extent, that ultimately force decides.


Joas Platteeuw
Nationality: Dutch
In Taiwan since: February 2016. 
Recently graduated from the University of Amsterdam (M. Sc. International Development Studies), after which I decided to go to Taiwan. I have previously done research in Darjeeling, India, and am interested in sustainable development, distribution of environmental risks, and the inclusion of civil society or other groups working in the public interest. 

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the view of Wild at Heart Legal Defense Association, Taiwan.


Joas Platteeuw
#Customary Law
#Legal Pluralism