June 28, 2006

UNPO Appeal on Taiwan WHO Status

Excerpts from the letter sent by the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) to Acting Director General Dr. Anders Nordström at the World Health Organisation (WHO), Geneva, Switzerland, is posted below.

Established in 1991, UNPO is an international membership organization, representing nations and peoples worldwide and aiming to provide these with a voice in international fora. The organization is comprised of sixty-three different Member groups, and currently represents more than 150 million people on a global scale. Taiwan was one of the founding Members of UNPO.

Since 1971 the Taiwanese people have suffered a marked lack of representation in international fora, including access to the global health system and the work of WHO. There is an urgent need to address this state of affairs, in particular when accounting for the recent warning of several countries on the possibility of the spread of infectious diseases such as the avian influenza, and potential worldwide epidemics. By virtue of this communication, I would hereby like to convey the strong support of UNPO for the participation of democratic Taiwan in the WHO.

Seeing that the overall goal of the WHO is the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health Taiwans exclusion from the WHO essentially contradicts this objective. Furthermore, Taiwan continues to actively cooperate on several international health projects and supply humanitarian assistance to the international community, with efforts recognized internationally.

In accordance with the very principles of the WHO, and seeing that WHO has a responsibility to ensure that Taiwans government and health professionals are given direct and unobstructed access to vital health information, particularly in the prevention and spread of deadly diseases such as SARS, HIV/AIDS and Avian Flu, it would be crucial to give Taiwan the opportunity to participate in the work of the WHO, at a minimum by granting observer status.

UNPO strongly supports Taiwans inclusion in the WHO and urges the invitation for Taiwan to attend, as an observer, the annual World Health Assembly in Geneva, as well the facilitation of the participation of Taiwan in overall global health cooperation, such technical meetings of the WHO.

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