Aboriginal Group Calls on Government to Pardon Convicted Hunter

Aboriginal Group Calls on Government to Pardon Convicted Hunter
Photo Credit: 蔡英文
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It has been three years since Tama Talum was arrested for illegal hunting. His fight continues.

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The Indigenous Youth Front on Oct. 24 launched an online campaign calling on the government to immediately pardon an ailing aboriginal man accused of illegal hunting and amend laws to protect the rights of indigenous peoples.

Arrested in 2013, Tama Talum was supposed to start serving his jail term last December after being found guilty of illegal hunting, but the Taitung Prosecutors Office postponed his sentence after Prosecutor-General Yen Da-ho (顏大和) filed an extraordinary appeal to the Supreme Court. Tama Talum has been waiting for the Court’s final decision since then.

Tama Talum suffers from pneumonia and was hospitalized after he lost consciousness on Oct. 20, the Chinese-language United Daily News reports.

Tama Talum was arrested for carrying a weapon and hunting without legal permission in Taitung County in July 2013. He was found guilty in October 2015 of violating the Controlling Guns, Ammunition and Knives Act and the Wildlife Conservation Act, UDN reports.

The Taitung District Court said the law only allows aborigines to possess “homemade” guns and the Wildlife Conservation Act only permits hunting under certain circumstances, such as traditional celebrations and ceremonies. The court convicted Tama Talum and sentenced him to three years and six months in jail.

Aboriginal and human rights groups argue the Controlling Guns, Ammunition and Knives Act does not limit aboriginal hunters to homemade weapons and that hunting is an integral part of the Bunun culture, which is “being repressed by the Wildlife Conservation Act.”

The Indigenous Youth Front is calling for the government to examine and amend related laws to protect the rights of aboriginals. It believes the government has not fully enacted Taiwan’s Indigenous Peoples Basic Law, which ensures the right of aborigines to practice their traditions and protects their rights to land and natural resources.

In October 2015, five Truku men from Tongmen, Hualien, were arrested upon returning from their annual mgay bari Thanksgiving hunt. Their hunting activities were registered with the relevant authorities.

First Editor: Olivia Yang
Second Editor: Edward White