The constitution provides for freedom of religious belief. Domestic service workers and caretakers are not covered under the labor standards law and are therefore not legally guaranteed a weekly rest day. Due to this exclusion, many domestic workers were not able to attend religious services. In February some nongovernmental organization (NGO) representatives expressed concern that cross-Strait considerations resulted in several exiled Tibetan Buddhist and Uighur Muslim community representatives being unable to obtain visas to attend an international religious freedom forum in Taoyuan. Authorities said no political calculations factored into their handling of visa applications.
In December students at a private high school in Hsinchu organized a Nazi-themed parade. The Presidential Office and Ministry of Education denounced the event and launched an investigation; the school’s principal resigned and apologized for the incident.
Staff of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) regularly met with authorities, religious leaders, and representatives of faith-based social service organizations as part of its efforts to promote religious freedom and tolerance. AIT officers consulted with officials and lawmakers, including on the issue of labor rights as they affect domestic service workers’ ability to attend religious services. Taiwan authorities continued to view this as a labor issue rather than a religious freedom issue.