CIIA Director Dr. Jolan Hsieh （Bavaragh Dagalomai, 謝若蘭）, was invited as a speaker to the Borneo Rainforest Law Conference earlier this month. The conference was a phenomenal success with over 350 participants, all agreeing that the conference theme of Indigenous Rights is timely and important for both the region and around the world.
The conference involved a discussion and comparative study of indigenous peoples’ rights and the law from around the world, including speakers from the United States of America, Australia, Taiwan, Sabah and Sarawak, and the Malaysian Peninsula to present papers and share from their wealth of experience and knowledge in the field.
Conference’s goal was to advance understanding of indigenous peoples’ rights and the development of law protecting indigenous peoples amidst rapid global development. The conference was also held in conjunction with the annual Opening of Legal Year ceremony in Sabah and Sarawak, held in the High Court in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. Dr. Jolan Hsieh also received invitation from Datuk Seri Panglima David Wong Dak Wah, Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak, to be special guest at the annual Opening of Legal Year ceremony.
The Chief Justice of Malaysia, Tan Sri Richard Malanjum, gave a powerful opening speech at the conference. As an indigenous Sabah lawyer, Chief Justice Malanjum said that to “understand injustice and how indigenous peoples faced many injustice issues are key factors for legal reform.” Chief Justice Malanjum was formal Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak, and his position as Chief Justice of Malaysia marks a new milestone in the country’s history as the first person from Borneo to be appointed to the top position within the judiciary. Chief Justice Malanjum also encouraged more legal practitioners in the state to pursue their studies in native cases and suggest a law school be established at University Malaysia Sabah （UMS） with emphasis on indigenous law.
Dr. Jolan Hsieh’s presentation, “From Colonialism to Reconciliation?: Indigenous Peoples Human Rights in Taiwan,” received many questions, followed by international cases presented by former President of the National Native Title Tribunal Ms. Raelene Webb QC （Australia） and Deputy Chief Judge Caren Fox of the Māori Land Court （New Zealand）. The Sabah Law Society President Mr. Brenndon Keith Soh mentioned that a future visit to Taiwan would be arranged for continued exchange and possible collaboration in Indigenous rights and legal issues.
Full Context：National Dong Hwa University