An international cross-party group of parliamentarians have launched a global campaign pushing for Taiwan’s participation in the upcoming World Health Assembly, with the World Health Organization (WHO) accused of allowing a “dangerous gap in the global network.”
The move was announced in a video statement released by the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC), featuring 15 legislators from 12 legislatures across Europe, North America and Australia. Those featured in the video include US Congressman Ami Bera, Chair of the influential House Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and Nonproliferation; Australian Senator Kimberley Kitching, Chair of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee; Sir Iain Duncan-Smith MP, former leader of the UK Conservative party; and Miriam Lexmann MEP, recently targeted by Chinese government sanctions for speaking out on human rights abuses in the Xinjiang Uyghur region.
The video statement, the full script of which is below, praises Taiwan’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic as a “great example to the world.” It goes on to criticise the WHO for “jeopardizing the health and wellbeing of Taiwan’s 23 million citizens” and creating a “dangerous gap in the global network.”
The parliamentarians call for Taiwan to participate in the World Health Assembly, which will take place next month, and urges viewers to show their support on social media using the #LetTaiwanHelp hashtag on Twitter.
Last month members of IPAC met with Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, afterwards issuing a statement committing to deepening its friendship and partnership with Taiwan. Last November IPAC issued a corporate statement calling for Taiwan’s participation in all World Health Organization meetings, mechanisms and activities.
US Congressman Ami Bera, Chair of the House House Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and Nonproliferation, said:
“Taiwan has long been a reliable partner on global health and has been a world leader in combating the COVID-19 pandemic. Beijing’s attempts to isolate Taiwan from the international community are wrong and dangerous. If Taiwan is left out, we all suffer.”
Senator André Gattolin, Vice-Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defense and the Armed Forces in the French Senate and Co-Chair of IPAC, said:
“Taiwan has a vital role to play in the international community. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic Taiwan has given assistance to countries in need. That Taiwan should be allowed to take part in the World Health Assembly next month should not even be questioned.”
Sir Iain Duncan-Smith MP, Co-Chair of IPAC, said:
“At a time when the world should be uniting to defeat the coronavirus pandemic it makes no sense to exclude Taiwan from the World Health Assembly. The Chinese government’s blatant attempts to politicize global health are unacceptable and must be resisted. The UK and the free world must do more to invite Taiwan to play a greater role on the international stage.”
Video Statement Script: #LetTaiwanHelp
Taiwan has given a great example to the world in combating the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the peak of the pandemic, Taiwan donated critical medical equipment to countries in need.
Taiwan has helped tackle health threats globally, from tuberculosis to Ebola.
Despite this, Beijing has repeatedly blocked Taiwan from participating in the World Health Organization and the World Health Assembly.
Excluding Taiwan jeopardizes the health and wellbeing of Taiwan’s 23 million citizens.
It also denies the rest of the world the opportunity to benefit from Taiwan’s experiences.
As shown by the COVID-19 pandemic, diseases do not respect any borders.
Taiwan’s exclusion creates a dangerous gap in the global network.
The Chinese government cannot continue to politicize global health.
As the WHO Director General has said, no one is safe until everyone is safe
We, as parliamentarians from across the world, call on the World Health Organization to invite Taiwan to participate in the World Health Assembly next month.
The world has so much to gain from Taiwan’s world leading medical expertise.
If Taiwan is left out, we all suffer. It’s time to let Taiwan help
Wherever you are in the world, join us by tweeting #LetTaiwanHelp
And let the world know that we welcome Taiwan’s support.
List of Parliamentarians featured in video
Miriam Lexmann MEP (European Parliament)
Senator André Gattolin (France)
Sir Iain Duncan Smith MP (United Kingdom)
Senator Kimberley Kitching (Australia)
Senator Malcolm Byrne (Ireland)
Uffe Elbaek MP (Denmark)
Elisabet Lann (Sweden)
Senator Pavel Fischer (Czechia)
Garnett Genuis MP (Canada)
Jan Lipavský MP (Czechia)
Senator Barry Ward (Ireland)
Senator Marco Rubio (United States)
Louisa Wall MP (New Zealand)
Fabian Molina MP (Switzerland)
Representative Ami Bera (United States)
Senator James Paterson (Australia)