By excluding Taiwan, WHO remains a flawed organisation

Chennai May 26, 2020, 12.50 PM(IST) Written By: N S Venkataraman

Coronavirus in Taiwan Photograph:( Reuters )

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WHO should not buckle under the pressure of the Chinese government to keep Taiwan out. 

While WHO is the wing of the United Nations, there is a subtle difference between the functioning style of WHO and expectations from it.

The UN is essentially a politically tinted organisation with membership for some countries being denied in the UN due to political reasons. For example, Taiwan is not a member of UN since China claims that Taiwan is part of China and it would seriously object if Taiwan would be given the membership of the UN.

Obviously, membership of the UN is being denied to some countries in view of the objections from the “powerful country”.

Several decades back, Bangladesh was part of Pakistan. After the bitter war, Bangladesh declared itself to be an independent country and was admitted as a member of the UN. Pakistan could not prevent Bangladesh from becoming a full-fledged member of the UN  since Pakistan is a “weak country”. Later on, Pakistan itself recognised Bangladesh as a matter of inevitability.

While Taiwan has been denied membership of the UN due to objection from mainland China, almost every country in the world has trade and business relations with Taiwan including the Chinese government. Many industries from Taiwan have invested in mainland China and the Chinese government has no objection to it.

This situation shows that Taiwan has been accepted as a full-fledged country all over the world, though the UN denied membership to it.

WHO is founded with the objective of protecting the health of the world community, covering all citizens of the world. Therefore, WHO should represent the interest of every member of the world community, whether the community belongs to a country admitted in UN or not or even stateless persons.

For example, WHO is extremely concerned about the health issues of Rohingya refugees, though they are deemed to be stateless persons as of now, as they are refugees who have run out of Myanmar and staying in Bangladesh territory, without anyone knowing as to whether they would go back to Myanmar at any time or would permanently stay in Bangladesh, even without being given citizenship in Bangladesh, which means that they should be deemed as stateless persons.

When WHO expresses concern about the health issues of Myanmar refugees, is it right for WHO  to keep its eyes closed with regard to Taiwan?

As a world organisation, it is the responsibility of WHO to monitor the health of world community, WHO cannot deny admission to any country in the world and it should not follow the practice of UN,  which is a politically tinted organisation.

WHO should not buckle under the pressure of the Chinese government to keep Taiwan out. 

At present, Taiwan is a well-advanced country with a strong technology background and it is very well evident from the fact that Taiwan pointed out the impending COVID 19 crisis quite early and brought it to the attention of  WHO. If WHO had listened to Taiwan’s voice and heeded to it’s warning about the COVID 19, probably, the world could have been saved from the loss of thousands of lives and serious economic slow down that is confronting the world due to COVID 19 at present.

Whatever may be the political relationship between the Chinese government and Taiwan, there is no need for WHO to take note of it or being concerned about it.

WHO has the responsibility to protect the health interests of the entire world community and the citizens of Taiwan are part of the world community.