Sat, Jun 17, 2017 - Page 1 News List

UN body turns away Taiwanese without Chinese IDs

By Lu Yi-hsuan and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

A sign informing UN staff that Taiwanese students must present China-issued identification to be allowed into a UN building in Geneva, Switzerland, is shown in an undated photograph.

Photo: courtesy of National Chung Cheng University Department of Labor Relations professor Liuhuang Li-Chuan

UN demands that Taiwanese present China-issued documents to visit a public hearing at the UN’s offices in Geneva, Switzerland, are discriminatory and unacceptable, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday.

“The UN claims to respect freedom for all, regardless of race, nationality, political or other identities... To serve the political purpose of a particular member nation goes against its mission,” the ministry said in a statement.

The statement came after a group of Taiwanese students were barred from observing a UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) session in Geneva on Monday.

The group, led by National Chung Cheng University Department of Labor Relations professor Liu Huang Li-chuan (劉黃麗娟), was first turned away earlier that day from the International Labour Conference, reportedly because their Republic of China passports are not recognized by the UN.

Liu Huang said UNHRC staff said that “Taiwan is not a country” and that the group would need to provide “Taiwan Compatriot Travel Documents” — a permit issued by Chinese authorities allowing Taiwanese to travel to China — with their passports to be admitted.

Liu Huang said she sought the assistance of UN Office at Geneva Director-General Michael Moller, who told her that nothing could be done, as “Taiwan is not following the ‘one China’ principle.”

“Was I speaking to a spokesman for China?” Liu Huang said on Facebook.

The UNHCR should provide everyone with the opportunity to learn about human rights, Liu Huang said, adding that the agency is apparently now “servicing the Chinese government.”

This is a serious situation, as China is using UN procedures to “achieve its dreams of unification by [forcing] the use of the Taiwan compatriot travel document,” Liu Huang said, adding that the government should beware of the extent of Beijing’s influence.

The ministry said its office in Geneva was aware of the incident and had expressed to the UN Office at Geneva that Taiwan “could not accept the discriminatory actions.”

The ministry criticized the UN as having gone against the universal values in its charter, saying that it would continue to protest the action, while asking nations friendly toward Taiwan to provide assistance.

A UN spokeswoman did not comment directly on the incident, but told reporters that visitors must present an identification document that is issued by “a country that is recognized as a state by the [UN] General Assembly.”

Additional reporting by AFP

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