World Health Organization Executive Board convenes in Geneva, Switzerland

Statements of support for Taiwan's participation as an observer nation expected from Europe, eSwatini

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(WHO Photo)

(WHO Photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The 144th Session of the World Health Organization’s Executive Board is being held in Geneva Switzerland over the next seven days, from Jan. 24 to Feb. 1.

There is hope in Taiwan that European representatives on the Executive Board will make a motion towards promoting Taiwan’s participation in the 2019 World Health Assembly, which is scheduled for May.

This speculation is based on recent resolutions and statements from the European Union and member nations regarding Taiwan and cross-strait relations.

The European Parliament in early December passed the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) which included provisions for the EU to promote Taiwan’s increased participation in international organizations.

Last week, the European Parliament-Taiwan Friendship Group also sent a letter addressed to the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, calling for the EU to develop stronger ties with Taiwan.

European Union member nations with representatives on the WHO Executive Board include Germany, Italy, Finland, Romania, and the Netherlands.

One of Taiwan’s official diplomatic allies, eSwatini, also holds a seat on the WHO Executive Board, and may also come forward with a statement of support for Taiwan.

Additionally, the United States House of Representatives earlier this week passed a bill calling on the Secretary of State to take meaningful action to promote Taiwan’s participation in the World Health Organization as an observer member. However, the legislation must still proceed to the Senate for approval.

Prior to the election of President Tsai-Ing-wen, Taiwan had observer status at the World Health Organization, but has since been denied access to the organization, as a result of China’s campaign to marginalize and undermine Taiwan’s autonomyon the international stage.

Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu has called Taiwan’s exclusion from the World Health Organization violation of the fundamental human rights of Taiwan’s 23 million citizens.