President Tsai attends 13th Asia Democracy and Human Rights Award ceremony

President Tsai Ing-wen presented the 13th Asia Democracy and Human Rights Award to the Gusdurian Network Indonesia (GNI) on the morning of December 10. At the ceremony, she expressed hope that all of our like-minded friends in the international community will work together to form a strong alliance of shared values, so we can contribute even more to the world.

In remarks, President Tsai stated that December 10 was the 70th anniversary of the passage of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. She said that as we commemorate the significance of this day, it’s her pleasure to present this year’s Asia Democracy and Human Rights Award to the GNI.

The president pointed out that the name “Gus Dur” comes from the nickname for former Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid. During his time as president, Mr. Wahid promoted democratic reforms, and was dedicated to opening social dialogue between different religions and ethnic groups. His work helped strengthen civil society and human rights values, President Tsai said.

Established in 2010, President Tsai stated, the GNI’s core values echo those of former President Wahid—tolerance and dialogue—to strengthen civil society through participation and empowerment. The organization helps oppressed minority groups, and when tensions are running high, it plays an important role in creating harmony between religious and ethnic groups.

Today, President Tsai said, the GNI links more than 300 Indonesian cities, bringing together young people from different religious backgrounds, while also promoting exchanges between countries in Asia.

The president stated that when it comes to bridging the divide between diverse ethnic groups and consolidating civil society, Taiwan has a lot of experience. Over the past thirty years, Taiwan has undergone a democratic transformation, and we understand that the road to democracy isn’t always smooth. Even today, there are new obstacles and challenges to overcome.

President Tsai emphasized that we are happy to share Taiwan’s experiences, including both successes and challenges, with our neighbors in Asia. We also want to learn from other countries, and work with them to ensure that the values of democracy and human rights are firmly established and more widely adopted. This is the reason we hold the Asia Democracy and Human Rights Awards, she said.

The president thanked the GNI for reminding us all that connecting different communities and promoting public dialogue will always be two of the most important tasks for a democratic society. Looking across the world, she noted, democratic nations are being impacted by extreme viewpoints, and divisions in civil society are increasingly apparent. In times like these, President Tsai said, the values upheld by the GNI such as moderation, tolerance, and dialogue across religions and ethnic groups truly deserve greater support and recognition.

In closing, the president expressed hope that all of our like-minded friends in the international community will work together to protect the values we cherish. She emphasized that international cooperation is the best way to commemorate Human Rights Day and implement the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Taiwan Foundation for Democracy (TFD), as Asia’s first national-level foundation dedicated to supporting democracy, is the best platform for dialogue and exchanges. Let us form a strong alliance of shared values, so we can contribute even more to the world, she stated.

Also in attendance were Mr. Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全), Legislative Yuan President and TFD Chairman; Deputy Foreign Minister Hsu Szu-chien (徐斯儉); GNI National Coordinator Alissa Wahid; and Nicaraguan Ambassador to the ROC William Manuel Tapia Aleman, head of the foreign diplomatic corps in Taiwan.