The secretary-general of the World Medical Association (WMA), a confederation of more than 100 national medical associations, yesterday called on the WHO to end its continued exclusion of Taiwan.
During a keynote speech at this year’s NGO Leaders Forum in Taipei, WMA secretary-general Otmar Kloiber said his non-governmental organization (NGO) had long supported Taiwan’s inclusion in the WHO and participation in the World Health Assembly (WHA), the WHO’s annual decisionmaking meeting.
Due to its advocacy on Taiwan’s behalf, the WHO has threatened to revoke the WMA’s membership in the multilateral body, Kloiber said, adding that WMA observers with Taiwanese passports had been routinely denied entry to UN premises since 2017.
Photo: Ann Wang, Reuters
He said such “ridiculous” actions hurt not just the WMA, but also the WHO itself by forgoing the benefits of power, experience and humanitarian help from Taiwan.
“We see ourselves as advocates for healthcare everywhere, and the meaningful participation of knowledge is something which we believe is absolutely necessary to have complete inclusion,” Kloiber said. “And we hope that we can make a difference and get a reconsideration by the World Health Organization to have finally Taiwan included and participating in a very meaningful way.”
Taiwanese representatives were expelled from the WHO in 1972, one year after the People’s Republic of China was recognized as the sole representative of China by the UN.
During the administration of former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) from 2009 to 2016, Taiwanese delegates, participating under the name Chinese Taipei, were granted observer status at the WHA.
Since then Taiwan has been excluded from the WHA due to opposition from China.
The NGO Leaders Forum was opened with remarks from Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexander Yui, who said that it was the third consecutive year that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had hosted an international forum to facilitate dialogue between the government and NGOs from Taiwan and abroad.
More than 600 participants from NGOs, government officials, business representatives and other guests had already taken part in this “meaningful event,” Yui said.
This year’s forum focused on the challenges and opportunities for a Taiwanese public-private partnership promoting peace and justice in global governance.
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