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Taiwan: WHO Membership

Volume 688: debated on Monday 8 January 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What response they have made to the 7th Report of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee (HC 860, Session 2005–06) which recommended that they should support full membership of the World Health Organisation for Taiwan. [HL831]

The Government's response was published in document HC 860-II Session 2005-06, October 2006, which can be found in the Library of the House. The response reads in full:

“The Government strongly supports the principle enshrined in the WHO constitution that the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being. However, there are difficulties over Taiwan's involvement in a United Nations forum where statehood is a prerequisite for full membership. Additionally, observer status, of and by itself does not automatically confer any rights or benefits on the holder.

Consequently, the Government's approach has been to press for practical solutions. The Government, both bilaterally and through the EU, has sought to strengthen and deepen the relationship between the WHO and Taiwan. The EU has urged the WHO Secretariat to find mechanisms to allow medical and public health officials from Taiwan to participate in relevant activities of the WHO. Through the Secretariat's efforts, Taiwan is more involved now than before. We continue to monitor the situation closely”.

Recently, at the request of member states including the UK, the European Commission and presidency have agreed to approach the new WHO director-general regarding Taiwan's further participation.