Jun 15, 2011

Taiwan: “The WHO's explicit reference to Taiwan as a province of China has no basis in international law”

British MEP Charles Tannock says the World Health Organisation (WHO) risks "undermining its own credibility and impartiality" by referring to Taiwan as a province of China.

Below is an article published by the Parliament.com:

Tannock, who chairs parliament's Taiwan friendship group, has now written a letter of protest to the WHO's director general Margaret Chan.

In the letter, he says that as a Chinese citizen Chan was "calling into question her own integrity by instructing staff to take such an overtly political position in referring to Taiwan."

Tannock's letter to the WHO chief is signed by 20 other MEPs from various political groups in parliament.

Last month [May 2011], Tannock led a delegation of MEPs on a visit to Taiwan and he personally assured Taiwan's president Ma Ying-jeou that he would register MEPs' objections to WHO's policy.

The letter says, "No United Nations specialised agency has the right unilaterally to decide on the status in international law of any given country or territory.

"As you well know, UN agencies and their staff are required to remain impartial and not to take instructions from or show favour to any national government.”

"We wish to remind you that neither UN general assembly resolution 2758 nor world health assembly resolution 25.1 make any reference to Taiwan's status in international law or its status vis-à-vis the People's Republic of China.”

"The WHO's explicit reference to Taiwan as a province of China has no basis in international law.”

"It is therefore hard to avoid the conclusion that the People's Republic of China has deliberately sought to compromise the independence and impartiality of the WHO for its own political purposes.”

"As DG of WHO, you are responsible for the internal policy of referring to Taiwan as a province of China.”

"You are also a citizen of, and were nominated for your post by, the People's Republic of China.”

"WHO's continued insistence on referring to Taiwan as a province of China therefore not only undermines the organisation's credibility but risks calling into question your personal impartiality and integrity.”

"We believe the WHO's position on Taiwan is politically and morally flawed.”

"We urge you to change WHO's internal procedures to refer to Taiwan as 'Chinese Taipei', the accepted name that Taiwan uses in other international organisations and structures.”

"Finally, we believe that Taiwan, with its excellent healthcare sector and world class doctors, has much to contribute to the WHO.”

"Mindful of the EU's declaration of support in September 2008 for Taiwan's meaningful participation in international organisations, we urge you to ensure that Taiwan is enabled to play such a role within the WHO.”

"Healthcare is a basic human right and should never be exploited as a political pawn."