For Immediate Release
Washington DC – April 2, 2003
Contact: (202) 547-3686
U.S. Congressman Brown Links SARS Outbreak And “WHO For Taiwan” Campaign On Floor Of House
On March 26, Representative Sherrod Brown (D-OH) called on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives for inclusion of Taiwan in the WHO in light of the current outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).
Brown stated: “As members of the WHO, most of these countries have received assistance in confronting this pandemic, but Taiwan , not a member, has not received any assistance from WHO. …. The denial of WHO membership to Taiwan is an unjustifiable violation of its people’s basic right to good health.”
FAPA President Ming-chi Wu states: “Instead of focusing on the health needs of Taiwan’s people, the WHO bases its decisions on China’s rejection of Taiwan’s membership. It is ironic that the WHO itself now places the health of an entire nation in jeopardy.”
Wu continues: “Taiwan must be granted observer status at the annual WHO summit in Geneva this May, starting a progressive resolution of Taiwan’s membership into the WHO and all other international organizations.”
DENIAL OF WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION MEMBERSHIP TO TAIWAN IS UNJUSTIFIED
House of Representatives – March 26, 2003
(Mr. BROWN of Ohio asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute.)
Mr. BROWN of Ohio. Mr. Speaker, in mid-February the World Health Organization began reporting cases of an atypical pneumonia throughout Asia identified as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. Since then, more than 450 cases, with 17 deaths, have been reported in 13 countries.
As members of the World Health Organization, most of these countries have received assistance in confronting this pandemic, but Taiwan , not a member, has not received any assistance from WHO.
The WHO’s refusal to assist Taiwan is unfair not only for the people of Taiwan but for the world at large, given the transnational nature of this outbreak. With a population of 23 million people, Taiwan is larger than 75 percent of the countries that belong to WHO and is prepared to contribute meaningfully to the global health efforts discussed at the World Health Assembly, but without membership or observer status, its delegates cannot even enter the room.
Taiwan has eradicated smallpox and cholera and polio and has achieved infant mortality rates on par with western countries.
Earlier this year, this House passed a bill ordering the State Department to endorse observer status for Taiwan at the World Health Assembly, yet the Bush administration continues to say no. The denial of WHO membership to Taiwan is an unjustifiable violation of its people’s basic right to good health.