Reverse the UN exclusion of democratic Taiwan

22-Sep-2018 Intellasia | Journal Inquirer | 6:00 AM Print This Post

In early September, US Sens. Cory Gardner, Ed Markey, Marco Rubio, and Bob Menendez introduced the Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative Act, to strengthen Taiwan’s standing around the world and serve as a response to the recent severing of relations by Taiwan’s former allies.

Taiwan appreciates the United States for taking a strong stance in support of democratic countries and sending a clear message that the aggressive attempts to isolate Taiwan will not be tolerated.

But more needs to be done so that our country can fully participate in the international community.

This week the 193 members of the United Nations convened in New York for the 73rd session of the general Assembly to work on an array of international issues concerning development, peace and security, and international law.

The UN Charter advocates respect for human rights and “equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small.” Yet, while proclaiming a message of inclusion, the UN is excluding the Republic of China (Taiwan) and its 23 million people, denying us access to UN mechanisms and activities. Despite Taiwan’s strong democracy, free press, and desire to contribute to the international community, we are sidelined by politics and deprived of a voice on the world stage.

To add insult to injury, holders of Republic of China (Taiwan) passports are denied access to UN facilities to attend meetings or even visit as tourists, though almost every country still recognises our country’s passports and 168 countries and territories offer us visa-free or landing-visa privileges.

Moreover, Taiwan’s journalists are denied accreditation to cover UN activities, which not only violates freedom of the press but also contravenes the interests of the people of Taiwan and the world.

Despite the odds, Taiwan is dedicated to remaining a responsible stakeholder. In line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Taiwan released its first Voluntary National Review last year, detailing our country’s approach to implementing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The 2030 Agenda set forth bold objectives with the purpose of shifting the world onto a sustainable and resilient path.

Taiwan has alleviated poverty and eliminated hunger, reducing low-income households to below 2 percent, increasing the literacy rate to above 98 percent, and cutting the maternal mortality rate to just 11.6 per 100,000 and the under-5 child mortality rate to 2.4 per 1,000.

Taiwan also works through its International Cooperation and Development Fund to provide developing countries with much-needed aid. We have launched programmes to help other countries achieve clean energy, food security, sustainable agriculture, general well-being, and disaster mitigation. The fund also offers training and overseas volunteer projects ensuring that our assistance is carried out with the most possible benefit to the local population.

Despite our efforts to achieve the goals set by the UN and contribute to the international community, Taiwan, a peace-loving democracy of 23 million people, remains marginalised by politics and excluded from international organisations working to promote mankind’s welfare. This injustice is not merely symbolic, as our isolation from the World Health Organization risks life-threatening consequences for the people of Taiwan.

But the people of Taiwan remain heartened by the actions of friendly countries like the US and others, that are helping us stand up to the attacks. We remain optimistic that the global liberal order will prevail.

Taiwan’s government and people are determined to keep fighting for our rights, and we ask that all responsible stakeholders stand up for Taiwan and the fundamental right of our people to be heard.

Lily L.W. Hsu is an ambassador from the Republic of China (Taiwan) and director-general of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York.

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Category: Taiwan

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