Tue, Aug 29, 2006 - Page 1 News List

New UN bid to highlight human rights

SPEAKING IN CODE This will be the nation's 14th in a long series of attempts to join the world body. This year, MOFA is taking a page from `The Da Vinci Code'

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Cabinet Spokesman Cheng Wen-tsang, center, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesman Michel Lu, third right, Overseas Chinese Affairs Commission Vice Chairwoman Maysing Yang, third left, and other government officials unveil this year's theme for the nation's 14th attempt to join the UN at a press conference in Taipei yesterday. This year's theme is ``UNHuman Rights,'' with the letters written in reverse.

PHOTO: WANG YI-SUNG, TAIPEI TIMES

This year's theme for the nation's 14th consecutive attempt to join the UN was unveiled yesterday -- "UNHuman Rights," with the letters written in reverse.

Officials said the design was meant to provoke the question: "With Taiwan's exclusion, is the UN moving in reverse?"

"The UN's General Assembly passed a resolution to establish the Human Rights Council on March 16, with the view of advancing the universal value of human rights. But the exclusion of Taiwan obviously runs counter to this," Cabinet Spokesman Cheng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦) said.

Cheng said that the idea of mirroring and reversing the letters of "UNHuman Rights" was inspired by the blockbuster movie and book The Da Vinci Code, and was intended to urge the international community to "right a 35-year wrong."

"We have been working very hard for a long time, but we still can't get fair treatment from the UN and reverse the `UNhuman' treatment and protect Taiwan's human rights," he said.

Taiwan has been kept outside the UN's doors for 35 years, ever since the People's Republic of China (PRC) took over the UN seat held by the Republic of China (ROC) following the passage of UN Resolution 2758, on the issue of China's representation.

In 1993, Taiwan began actively seeking participation in the UN, but all of its attempts have failed because of China's obstruction.

"It's a long-term goal for Taiwan to join the UN, but it's also very hard to accomplish due to China's opposition. However, there is no reason that we will stop pursuing it," said Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesman Michel Lu (呂慶龍).

Lu said that the international community will know that "Taiwan is still there" and that "Taiwan is not part of China" only if it keeps giving voice to those thoughts.

As with last year's failed UN bid, two proposals are to be brought up by the nation's allies, to be discussed when the 61st UN General Assembly prepares to convene on Sept. 12.

One proposal addresses "the question of the representation and participation of the 23 million people of Taiwan in the United Nations" and requests the inclusion of Taiwan's membership bid as a supplementary item on the agenda of the General Assembly session.

The other proposal, termed the "peace proposal," asks the UN to take a more proactive role in maintaining peace and security in East Asia.

"Last year, the `peace proposal' asked the UN to take a more proactive role in maintaining `cross-strait' peace. This year, we extend the scope to `East Asia' as peace in the Taiwan Strait is essential to the stability of the Asia-Pacific region," Lu said.

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said on Aug. 12 that the nation, in the face of oppression from Beijing, should consider joining the UN using the name "Taiwan" instead of "Republic of China [Taiwan]," but Lu said that the plan is still under consideration.

"We have done our best to highlight `Taiwan' in this year's proposals," Lu said.

"The wording in the proposals refers to the country's name as `Republic of China [Taiwan]' in the first instance only, and thereafter refers to the nation as `Taiwan,'" he said.

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