China, Taiwan: Yu Jane Ku

I am fortunate enough to choose to work for human rights; not everyone can choose what kind of life she or he would love to have or the kind of work she or he likes.

— Yu Jane Ku

Ku Yu Jane, born in 1965, is the executive secretary of the Taiwan Human Rights Association and the director of the Media Watch and Education Foundation. She fights for the rights of illegal immigrants, mental patients and indigenous people in Taiwan. She believes that human rights work is a kind of collective project that needs mutual understanding and learning among people.

As a human rights activist, Ku Yu Jane fights for the rights of marginal groups and tries to eliminate prejudice and discrimination against them. For example, she participated actively in the indigenous people’s movement and published an article called “The Land Crisis of Taiwan Indigenous People: a preliminary study of the political and economic structure of the Equal Rights’ Association in the mountainous region”, which evaluates the land problems faced by the indigenous people living in the mountains. This article aroused much attention in the public. In 2003, together with lawyers and social workers who care for the prevention of domestic violence, Ku published a book called, "The One Hurting Me is the One Closest to Me" (Shang Zhou Press, 2003) to raise awareness of the seriousness of domestic violence in Taiwan. Touching stories from six typical categories of people related to domestic violence, including foreign brides, Chinese Mainland brides, indigenous women, the abusers, drug addicts’ family members, and children witnessing marriage violence, formed the substance of this book. Ku believes that human rights work is a kind of collective project that needs mutual understanding among people, and she plans to popularize human rights education in schools and communities. She is also keen to work on international human rights issues for she believes that human rights issues are transnational. Ku is also concerned about the media and advocates monitoring and critiquing programs for their biases.

Taiwan Human Rights Association Media Watch and Education Foundation