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    WHO Past Campaign - Letter from Senators to the President regarding Taiwan's membership to WHO

The Honorable William J. Clinton
The President
The White House
Washington, D. C. 20500
Dear Mr. President:

We are writing with respect to the recent report issued by your Administration concerning Taiwan's participation in the World Health Organization (WHO). As you are aware, Public Law 106-137 required the Secretary of State to submit a report to Congress on Administration efforts to support Taiwan's participation in international organizations and in particular the WHO.

The most recent report restated the logistical constraints on membership of Taiwan as a political entity in international bodies such as the WHO. It reiterated administration support for any arrangements acceptable to the membership of the WHO to allow for Taiwan to participate with the work of the organization. The report also describes the practical problem of China's opposition to Taiwan's participation and the limited international support for Taiwan's participation. We believe, however, that the report fails to address the crux of the issue: the people of Taiwan are being systematically denied access to the benefits of organizations such as the WHO, the primary objective of which is, after all, "the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health." Denying such benefits in the case of the people of Taiwan is, we believe, a gross dereliction of duty by the WHO, and should not stand unchallenged: As you know, April 7, 2000, has been declared World Health Day by the WHO. As such, we are presented with a unique opportunity to address this important issue.

While the report reaches the right conclusion that Taiwan's participation with the WHO should be supported, it does not, in our view, create a systematic plan for reaching that objective. We believe it is incumbent on your administration to support more vigorously humanitarian efforts by the people of Taiwan to gain access to international health policy planning. The overwhelming support from Congress for this principle has manifested in numerous requests of the Administration to push for meaningful participation by Taiwan in the WHO and other international organizations.

We understand the importance of sovereignty and statehood concerns as they relate to participation in international organizations. Your Administration has in the past set aside similar concerns, however, when humanitarian factors are at stake. In the case of Taiwan's membership in the WHO, functional humanitarian concerns greatly outweigh matters of organizational form. Accordingly, a failure by your Administration to properly champion the participation by Taiwan in the WHO would be a decision to place matters of mere political convenience above overriding humanitarian concerns.

Good health is a basic right for every citizen of the world and access to the highest standards of health information and services is necessary to help guarantee this right. Unless the United States is willing to stand up and take the lead on this issue, the definition of "all people," at least as the WHO interprets it, will continue to exclude the people of Taiwan. We urge you to take concrete steps to ensure that no people are denied the highest possible standards of health or other human rights by the political limitations of international organizations to which the United States is a party.

Sincerely,

Sen. Frank Murkowski
Sen. Joe Lieberman
Sen. Jesse Helms
Sen. Jay Rockefeller
Sen. Wayne Allard
Sen. James M. Inhofe
Sen. Robert Torricelli
Sen. Jim Bunning
Sen. Jon Kyl
Sen. Robert Bennett
Sen. John Ashcroft
Sen. Connie Mack
Sen. Max Baucus
Sen. Mary Landrieu
Sen. Bob Smith
Sen. Susan Collins
Sen. Paul Coverdell
Sen. Mike DeWine
Sen. Conrad Burns
Sen. Richard Bryan

 
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