Environmental Rights Foundation (ERF) is an NPO based in Taiwan, Asia, founded due to the result of the court settlement regarding the lawsuit on the 3rd phase expansion of Central Taiwan Science Park (CTSP) between farmers and the government.
According to the settlement contract, the board of directors of the ERF are nominated by governmental authorities, local farmers, lawyers, and environmental experts.
ERF members include lawyers and environmental experts who aim to support environmental grassroots movements, strengthen civic participation, promote information disclosure, and defend the communities for the right to live with a better environment.
Protecting Environmental Rights
- Legal Aid:
We assist farmers, residents, and indigenous peoples to acquire information, participate in the environmental decision-making process, and access to justice, which may include but are not limited to environmental impact assessment, urban planning, cultural heritage preservation, consultation and consent procedures of indigenous peoples, and other administrative procedures.
- Focus Issues：
- Citizen Monitoring the Sixth Naphtha Cracker Environmental Rights Promotion Action Platform (Citizen Monitoring the Sixth Naphtha Cracker Platform):
The Sixth Naphtha Cracker of Formosa Plastics is the largest petrochemical industrial park in central Taiwan, impacting the local environment and the health of residents greatly. Research has shown that the incidence of cancer is significantly higher in residents living near the petrochemical industrial park. Taixi Village of Changhua even has the name “cancer village”. The platform was co-established by civic organizations and local residents, aiming at urging the government to enhance its capability of environmental governance and conduct adequate environmental monitoring to realize the public’s right to know.
- Legalization of Unregistered Factories on Agricultural Land:
At present, there are over 134,500 unregistered factories on agricultural land in Taiwan, occupying an area of 13,859 hectares. ERF has been working with civic organizations since 2017, organizing legal policy lobbying, urging the government to amend laws and regulations, and publicizing data and information for better policy tracking and judgement.
- Judicial Remedies for Transnational Corporation Pollution (Ocean Pollution of Formosa Ha-Tinh Steel Corporation):
ERF organized a lawyer group to assist the 7,875 Vietnamese victims. We filed for a civil lawsuit for compensation against the shareholders and board of directors of Formosa Ha-Tinh Steel Corporation, hoping that transnational corporations bear responsibilities of pollution.
- Environmental Lawyer Training
ERF works with bar associations and trains environmental lawyers.
Community Air Pollution Detective Teams:
ERF assists local residents in forming air pollution detective teams near county borders where many factories are situated to detect sources of odors and pollution and to report to the government, allowing the civil society and the government to work together to improve air pollution.
Organizing Citizen Monitoring Camps for High School Students and College Students: ERF cultivates young people to care about the environment and love our land.
ERF organizes activities with local residents for education and empowerment based on local environmental issues.
At Reservoir Planning Areas: ERF has organized the International Day of Action for Rivers events on March 14 for two consecutive years in 2018 and 2019. The events aim at drawing the society’s attention on reservoir issues through local concerts or speed-walking events.
At Solar Power Planning Areas: ERF has organized with local indigenous people the Tribe Land and Sunshine Workshop so that the local communities know more about solar energy and the practicing of indigenous peoples’ right of consultation and consent and the right of benefit sharing.
At So-to-Be-Eliminated Fishing Villages Whose Land is Acquired by the Tourism Industry and Hotels: ERF organizes courses on urban planning procedures and more.
Near Factories of the High Technology Industry: ERF organizes courses on communities’ right to know, health risk reports, and more.
Taiwan to Sign the Aarhus Convention
Although not a member of the UN, Taiwan has signed the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
Our hope is that the Government of Taiwan signs the Aarhus Convention and gives it domestic legal status so that environmental rights such as information publication, citizen participation, and judicial remedies can be more secured.
Taipei Office: 5F., No. 52-1, Sec. 1, Xinsheng S. Rd., Zhongzheng Dist., Taipei City 100014, Taiwan (+886-2-2391-5538)
Taichung Office: No. 845, Sec. 2, Taiwan Blvd., Xitun Dist., Taichung City 407058, Taiwan (+886-4-2329-2372#10)