WMA Council Resolution on observer Status for Taiwan to the World Health Organization (WHO) and inclusion as participating party to the International Health Regulations (IHR)
Adopted by the 170th WMA Council Session, Divonne-les-Bains, France, May 2005
- The ethical obligation of health professionals is to serve all human beings irrespective of their political or religious affiliation or any other factor. The goal of all nations must be the protection of health of all human beings without any discrimination. Protection of human health can only be achieved if all people and health care systems collaborate. WHO must be able to invite all people and health care systems to participate in the fight against disease and premature death. Protection of human health must be separated from politics.
- A burning example of discrimination in the recent years has been Taiwan. There are 23 million people living in Taiwan, of which a significant number required medical assistance or help from international relief organizations in the aftermath of the 1999 earthquake. In addition, Taiwan was significantly affected and suffered several deaths due to the SARS epidemic during 2002 and 2003 and is under threat by the current outbreak of Avian Flu in South East Asia.
- There are 23 million people who are willing and take pride in contributing to international relief efforts when other people are in need, as demonstrated again by generous donations and significant humanitarian aid support in the aftermath of the tsunami disaster during 2004.
- 23 million people should not be excluded from the work of the World Health Organization, but without taking a stand as to the legal status of Taiwan.
- The World Medical Association (WMA), as a non-governmental organization in official relations with WHO, calls on WHO to grant Taiwan observer status to WHO;
- The WMA calls on WHO and all its Member States to ensure that Taiwan is included as a participating party to the WHO International Health Regulations;
- The World Medical Association further urges its members to call on their national governments to advocate for observer status for Taiwan at WHO, as well as inclusion as a participating party to the WHO International Health Regulations.