August 29, 2006
Taiwan: U.N. Bid to Stress Human Rights, Says GIO
Taiwan's renewed bid to gain participation in the UN will direct attention to how the exclusion of the island nation's 23 million people violates the world organization's commitment to "promote and respect human rights for all," Government Information Office head Cheng Wen-tsan announced on 28 August
Taiwan's renewed bid to gain participation in the United Nations will direct attention to how the exclusion of the island nation's 23 million people violates the world organization's commitment to "promote and respect human rights for all," Government Information Office head Cheng Wen-tsan announced yesterday.
In October 1971, the United Nations General Assembly approved Resolution 2781 which gave the People's Republic of China the right to represent "China" and assume its General Assembly and permanent Security Council seats, which had been held by the Republic of China.
Cheng related that in the following 35 years, the 23 million people of Taiwan had been excluded from the U.N. and its 15 subsidiary organizations, including the World Health Organization, and faced severe restrictions on their participation in other international organizations.
Since 1993, Taiwan's government, first under the former Kuomintang regime and now under the Democratic Progressive Party administration, has asked formal allies in the U.N. to propose motions to the General Assembly regarding the issue of the representation of Taiwan's 23 million people.
During a news conference at the GIO, Cheng showed a 60-second television spot and a print advertisement noting that, based on its founding charter, "the U.N. is founded on human rights," but asks "with Taiwan's exclusion, is the U.N. moving in reverse?"
Cheng related that the words "UNhuman" were reserved in the advertisements in an "innovative" feature inspired by the popular movie "The DaVinci Code."
The GIO chief stated that the decision to focus Taipei's 14th annual campaign for U.N. participation on "human rights" was related to the formation in March of a "Human Rights Council" to be based in Geneva to replace the former U.N. Commission on Human Rights.
The emphasis on the "Unhuman" theme follows a campaign in 2004 stressing that the United Nations was "Unfair" in denying representation to the 23 million Taiwan people and a push last year that the Taiwan people were "Unhappy" over being excluded from the world body despite the island nation's democratization.
"In an era of U.N. organizational reform and the expansion of attention to human rights and development, we will focus on human rights and security to allow Taiwan's voice to be freshly expressed and heard," Cheng added.
He said that the GIO, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Cabinet-level Overseas Chinese Affairs Commission would coordinate "many types of diverse publicity efforts" during the two-week session of the 61st U.N. General Assembly, which begins September 10, in support of two resolutions sponsored by Taiwan allies in the U.N.
The two proposals concern "the question of the representation and participation of the 23 million people of Taiwan in the United Nations" and "a proactive role for the United Nations in maintaining peace and security in East Asia."
MOFA spokesman Michel Lu related that the two proposals this year included a call for participation based on the principle of universality and also expanded last year's motion calling for the U.N. to play a proactive role in ensuring stability and peace in the Taiwan Strait to encompass East Asian regional peace and security.
Lu related that the later draft statement in particular had "gained a positive reaction," including from countries which "were unable to openly offer support."
"We live in a global village and an age of dialogue," noted Lu. "In 1971, Taiwan was a burden to the world community, but now we are able and willing to contribute 0.14 percent of our gross domestic product to the world community and have the capability to strive for our proper right of participation," Lu added.
Lu acknowledged, however, that the biggest obstacle to Taiwan's participation in the U.N. was opposition from the People's Republic of China and warned that "the PRC has not shown any good will to Taiwan and has continued its two-handed strategy against us."
GIO chief Cheng said that the PRC has oppressed all of Taiwan's participation in international organizations and activities and has even used violence," citing the 2006 International Children's Games in Bangkok in which Chinese athletes and officials on Saturday seized R.O.C. flags from Taiwan athletes who had won gold medals.
Cheng stressed that the thrust of the campaign was that Taiwan's people have the right to participate in the U.N. and that it was impossible for China or any other country to represent them.
Support from overseas Taiwanese
OCAC Vice Chairwoman Yang Huang Mei-hsin related that the entire overseas Taiwan community supported the bid to gain representation and participation in the U.N. regardless of partisan views.
Yang said that when the Taipei government was expelled from the U.N., Taiwan was ruled by an authoritarian government but held a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council under the name of the Republic of China. Now, however, Taiwan is a democratic and free country and is excluded from the U.N. entirely.
"This is a mockery of the principles of the U.N. charter," Yang stated.
Cheng related that the Taiwan government would place advertisements in major United States media such as The New York Times and Time magazine as well as major European newspapers such as the "Le Monde" (The World) daily in France.
Moreover, Cheng related that the Washington Post would host an Internet online dialogue with DPP Legislator Hsiao Bi-khim (¿½¬üµ^) and Soochow University Department of Political Science Chairman Lo Chih-cheng (Ã¹¬P¬F).
Moreover, Cheng said the effort would continue to use diverse methods such as open air billboards and automobile bumper stickers as well as television and radio spots to disseminate the campaign for Taiwan's U.N. participation.
Lu stated that the annual campaign had succeeded in attracting the attention of international society and added that "at least we can let international society know that Taiwan is still here and that Taiwan is not a province of China."
"The PRC will completely blockade this effort, but China should not be happy too soon as everyone desires peace and we have received a positive reaction from many countries," said Lu.