The Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC), an international cross-party group of parliamentarians, yesterday launched a global campaign calling on the World Health Organisation (WHO) to invite Taiwan to participate in the World Health Assembly planned for next month.

The campaign, titled Let Taiwan Help, argues that Taiwan’s response to COVID-19 was “a great example to the world”, and that Taiwan has “helped tackle health threats globally, from tuberculosis to Ebola.”  Blocking Taiwan from attending the World Health Assembly, the group says, “denies the rest of the world the opportunity to benefit from Taiwan’s experiences…if Taiwan is left out, we all suffer.” COVID-19, the group says, “has shown diseases do not respect any borders…Taiwan’s exclusion creates a dangerous gap in the global network.”

Dr Jaushieh Joseph Wu, Foreign Minister of Taiwan, has previously written in Gript about this issue.

IPAC also highlighted the Taiwan Can Help campaign, under which Taiwan “donated critical medical equipment to countries in need.” This campaign saw the Taiwanese community in Ireland, under the banner of the Taiwan Ireland Association, donate tens of thousands of pieces of PPE to Irish nursing homes and residential facilities at a time when supplies were extremely scarce.

Taiwan has previously, 2009 to 2015, attended the World Health Assembly as an observer, but pressure from Beijing has blocked its participation since 2016. Over the course of the COVID pandemic the WHO has been coming under increasing pressure to allow Taiwan to resume attending the event. This led to a situation last year in which a senior WHO official gave a bizarre interview in which the official pretended not to hear any question he was asked regarding Taiwan and then hung up on the interviewer.

IPAC are asking members of the public to use the hashtag #LetTaiwanHelp to show their support for allowing Taiwan to attend the World Health Assembly.

Senators Barry Ward and Malcolm Byrne, both members of IPAC, are featured in the video released to mark the launch of the campaign.