A total of 644 lawmakers from the European Union and elsewhere in Europe have called on the World Health Organization (WHO) to include Taiwan in its annual assembly, which is scheduled to resume virtually next week, writes Sylvia Teng.
The WHA meetings will take place virtually from Nov. 9-14 in light of the ongoing pandemic. In its previous virtual sessions in May, Taiwan was not invited.
“We urge you to invite Taiwan to participate in the WHA as an observer and fully include Taiwan into the WHO meetings, mechanisms and activities, which would be in the interest of all parties concerned,” said a letter addressing WHO Director-General Tedros Ahano Adhanom Ghebreyesus. The letter sent on Thursday (Nov. 5) is the latest show of support from EU politicians for Taiwan’s participation in the WHO’s decision-making body.
The letter was initiated by the Formosa Club and comprised Taiwan friendship groups from the European Parliament, Germany, France, and Britain, among others. The 644 lawmakers are from a variety of parties.
In the letter, European lawmakers hailed Taiwan as exemplary for its containment of the novel coronavirus, thus limiting its impact on the economy. It also mentioned the donations of surgical masks and other medical and protective equipment Taiwan has made over the past few months to more than 80 countries, including many in Europe.
“Regrettably, despite considerable calls and support from the international community, Taiwan’s participation in the WHO is still met with obstacles,” the letter said. Calling the WHO’s handling of Taiwan’s affairs “unfair,” the lawmakers said obstructing Taiwan’s access to WHO is “not only detrimental to the fundamental health rights of Taiwan’s 23 million citizens, but also creates a dangerous gap in the global disease prevention network.”
Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) expressed gratitude on Twitter for the unprecedented bipartisan support from Europe for Taiwan’s inclusion: “644 lawmakers from 25 countries are urging #Taiwan’ meaningful participation in the @WHO & events like #WHA73.” The ministry went on to say: “Please remember, @DrTedros, no one is safe from #COVID19 until everyone is safe.”
The Author, Sylvia Teng, is a Staff Writer for Taiwan News, where this story first appeared.