Tue, May 16, 2017 - Page 1 News List

Ministry seeks allies’ help with WHA

BARRED:The ministry has also questioned reports that the UN Information Service would only let journalists from UN-recognized nations to cover next week’s assembly

Staff writer, with CNA

WHO Director-General Margaret Chan speaks on Sunday at the Belt and Road Forum at the China National Convention Center in Beijing.

Photo: AFP

The government is pushing for participation in the World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva, Switzerland, with the help of the nation’s diplomatic allies, after not receiving an invitation to the annual meeting this year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday.

At Taiwan’s request, the diplomatic allies have written separately to WHO Director-General Margaret Chan (陳馮富珍) proposing that the issue of “inviting Taiwan to participate in the WHA as an observer” be included in the meeting’s agenda, which is set to begin on Monday next week, the ministry said.

The WHA is the decisionmaking body of the WHO.

The ministry expressed its appreciation to the allies, which it did not name, for their assistance, and urged the WHO and its members to recognize that Taiwan is an indispensable part of the global disease surveillance system and to respect Taiwanese’s right to health.

Taiwan had attended the assembly as an observer since 2009. Its exclusion this year is widely seen as the latest move by Beijing to limit Taiwan’s international participation, a strategy that has become more aggressive since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) was elected last year.

In related news, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Wu Chih-chung (吳志中) said the WHO has violated its own principles by denying Taiwanese journalists access to the WHA.

The decision is contrary to the WHO constitution, which states that “the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition,” Wu said.

“We hold different political beliefs from China and the WHO needs to consider its own credibility when making such decisions,” he said.

Alessandra Vellucci, director of the UN Information Service in Geneva, reportedly said that only journalists from UN-recognized nations would be given accreditation to cover the WHA.

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