By N. Peter Kramer
The World Health Assembly (WHA) will be held on May 20th. Taiwan has not been invited to participate under pressure from China. This in contravention of the WHO constitutional statement that health is a human right.
However, international voices calling for Taiwan’s participation in the WHA are growing stronger, showing that Taiwan’s participation is a matter of great importance for the global community.
Taiwan will not capitulate to political obstructions and will continue to fight for international recognition. Keeping to the principles of “professionalism, pragmatism and dedication”, Taiwan strives to participate in the WHA, WHO and related technical conferences, mechanisms and activities, to help the WHO quickly achieve its vision of “health is a basic human right”.
To show solidarity with Taiwan, on May 16th several Taiwan representative offices in Europe organised their “Walk With Taiwan” event, a short walk to show solidarity with Taiwan. The Taipei Representative Office in the EU and Belgium led the charge, gathering a group of Belgium and Luxembourg-based compatriots, foreign exchange students and locals, to take to the streets.
They also invited international friends from Belgium and across the EU to participate, and the message was simple: “Support Taiwan, Support Democracy.”
The walk-in Brussels took place with an array of flags and placards, a marching band and a Taiwanese god “The Third Prince” decked in traditional regalia, the procession made for an eye-catching spectacle.
A crowd of nearly 500 people participated, among them political figures from the EU and Belgian parliaments, and ambassadors of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies H.E. Jeraldine Ebil Tudong (Palau ), H.E. Moses Kouni Mose(Solomon Islands), H.E. Aunese Makoi Simat(Tuvalu) and H.E. Mauricio Lautaro Sandino Motes(the Republic of Nicaragua ). Also the President of the European Economic and Social Committee Henri Malosse was present.
Taiwan Representative Harry Tseng headed up the procession. His message was: “We’re taking to the streets to demonstrate that Taiwan is a democratic, free, law-based and human-rights respecting nation, a like-minded partner for the EU. At the same time we call on the international community to recognise the political pressure that Taiwan operates under, which even now is preventing it from participating in the World Health Assembly.”
Georges Dallemagne, MP, co-President of the Belgium-Taiwan Parliamentary Friendship Group said: “I’ve been a very close friend of Taiwan for close to 15 years. I’ve supported Taiwan in my parliament. I’ve always felt it’s important to have a very close relationship.
This is because Taiwan is a democracy, it’s an open society, and we do have an important relationship in commerce and cultural issues. We both cherish democracy and human rights. Even though Taiwan is far from Belgium, they are very close in our hearts.”