A letter by 10 lawmakers from Italy sent to the World Health Organization expressing grave concern over its unfair treatment of Taiwan is highly appreciated by the government and people, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Feb. 5.
Signed by Lucio Malan—president of the Italy-Taiwan Parliamentary Friendship Group—and nine other lawmakers, the letter urges WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to correct the U.N. specialized agency’s classification of Taiwan as part of China in reports on the new coronavirus first identified in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.
The WHO’s erroneous reports contributed to the Italian government’s decision to ban all flights from Taiwan, the lawmakers said. Taiwan is not a high-risk area for the virus as evidenced by the low number of cases—roughly half those reported in other countries around the world, they added.
Taiwan is not China, the lawmakers said, citing the country’s democratically elected government and world-class public health care system. It is unacceptable for Taiwan to remain shut out of the activities, mechanisms and meetings of the WHO due to pressure from China, they added.
Such unprecedented exclusion runs counter to the WHO Constitution stating that the “enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition,” the lawmakers said.
Disease is blind to boundaries and politics, the lawmakers said, adding that the WHO should grant Taiwan observer status and provide all necessary information and assistance. Taiwan is entitled to disease-fighting information like all WHO members, they added. (SFC-E)