By Martin Banks - 8th September 2008
This is detrimental to the health rights of the 23 million people of Taiwan and an increasing number of foreigners residing in and travelling to Taiwan
Luxembourg deputy Astrid Lulling
Taiwan’s continued absence from UN bodies like the World Health Organisation (WHO) has been branded “dangerous” by Luxembourg MEP Astrid Lulling.
Lulling says its exclusion means Taiwan has been unable to establish direct access to and communicate with the WHO on matters such as disease prevention and implementation of international health regulations.
“This is detrimental to the health rights of the 23 million people of Taiwan and an increasing number of foreigners residing in and travelling to Taiwan,” she says.
“Its exclusion from such an organisation as the WHO is not only ridiculous but dangerous.”
The veteran deputy points out that Taiwan’s participation in WHO technical meetings and activities is also “strictly” restricted.
As a result, Lulling says Taiwan can neither acquire the latest medical and health updates nor receive timely assistance when epidemics occur, such as the case with SARS.
Lulling, an EPP-ED member, is the latest senior European parliamentarian to back Taiwan’s efforts to play a ‘meaningful participation’ in one or more of the UN’s 16 specialised agencies.
Taiwan has been denied participation in the conferences, mechanisms and conventions of the UN and its specialised agencies since 1971.
The campaign is also being backed by German Socialist deputy Wolfgang Kreissl-Dolfler.
He says Taiwan’s absence from the UN agencies has created a “major breach” in the operations of the UN system.
He says that as they are most important multilateral platforms for dealing with global issues, the UN specialised agencies should accept Taiwan’s participation based on the principle of universality.
He also agrees that as Taiwan cannot attend the conferences, mechanisms and activities of the UN agencies, the welfare of its people has been “seriously” affected.
“It is vitally important that Taiwan be allowed to join these agencies. You simply cannot exclude 23 million from their activities and I also think the EU, including parliament and the commission, should be doing more to put pressure on the UN to look kindly on Taiwan’s position.”
Taiwan’s bid will be considered at the 63rd general assembly of the UN, which begins in New York on 15 September. In the past, Taiwan has applied for full UN membership but, this year, will settle for membership of its agencies.