A letter from Formosa Club, a group of Europe-based lawmakers, sent to the World Health Organization expressing grave concern over the body’s unfair treatment of Taiwan is deeply appreciated, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Feb. 12.
In the wake of the new coronavirus outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the letter urges WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to rectify the incorrect listing of Taiwan under China’s jurisdiction and grant the country WHA observer status. The mistake has contributed to significant misunderstanding around the world, as seen in the Italian government’s decision to ban all flights from Taiwan, the group said.
Limiting access to WHO technical meetings in the midst of a global health emergency undermines the fundamental human rights of Taiwan’s 23 million people and puts everyone at risk, it said, adding that the situation is a severe breach in the global public health safety network.
The letter follows other similar submissions to Ghebreyesus by lawmakers from Italy, Latvia, Portugal, the U.K. and the European Parliament.
The MOFA said the letter is part of a growing cross-country, cross-party consensus emanating from Europe recognizing the importance of including Taiwan in the activities, mechanisms and meetings of the WHO. The government will continue working with its like-minded partners in the region on preventing further spread of the virus, the ministry added.
Established in Brussels last October, members of the Formosa Club include Michael Gahler, chair of the European Parliament-Taiwan Friendship Group; Klaus-Peter Willsch, chair of the Germany-Taiwan Parliamentary Friendship Group; Sen. Alain Richard, chairman of the upper house’s France-Taiwan Friendship Group, and Jean-Francois Cesarini, a member of the National Assembly and chairman of its Taiwan-France Friendship Group; and Lord Rogan, co-chair of the British-Taiwanese All-Party Parliamentary Group.
Taiwan participated in the annual WHA as an observer from 2009 to 2016. The government is seeking a seat at the table for the 73rd edition running May 17-21 in Geneva. (YCH-E)
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