A call for Taiwan’s participation in the activities, mechanisms and meetings of the World Health Organization made by 644 European parliamentarians is deeply appreciated by the government and people, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Nov. 5.
The cross-border and cross-party backing reflects overwhelming support in the international community for Taiwan’s inclusion in the upcoming World Health Assembly, the decision-making body of the WHO, the MOFA said. Usually held in May in Geneva, this year’s annual meeting is scheduled to reconvene Nov. 9-14 following curtailment due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ministry’s statement came in response to a letter sent earlier the same day to WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stressing the importance of Taiwan’s presence in the U.N. organization. The letter was also copied to Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, and Josep Borrell, the European Union’s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy.
It was signed by key members of the European Parliament, as well as lawmakers from 22 EU member states, Iceland, Norway and the U.K. These include Czech Republic Senate President Milos Vystrcil; EP Vice Presidents Nicola Beer of Germany, Fabio Massimo Castaldo of Italy and Heidi Hautala of Finland; and Lord Rogan, deputy speaker of the U.K. House of Lords.
According to the letter, Taiwan has won worldwide acclaim for its effective management of the pandemic and timely humanitarian assistance, with the Taiwan Model for combating coronavirus a proven success story.
Despite this, Taiwan has been repeatedly denied access to the WHO, the letter said. Such treatment is not only detrimental to the right to health of Taiwan’s 23 million citizens, but also leaves a dangerous gap in the global disease prevention network, it added.
Dr. Tedros should rectify the mistake by inviting Taiwan to take part in the WHA as an observer, the letter said, adding the WHO should Leave No One Behind in its efforts to achieve Health For All. (SFC-E)