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    WHO 2002 - Rep. Sherrod Brown's Press Release on Senate Passage

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, March 20, 2002

Contact: Ted Miller, 202/225-6285


Congressman Brown's Bill Formalizes U.S. Support for Taiwan's Inclusion in International Health Organization Activities

Washington, DC -- Congressman Sherrod Brown (D-OH) praised Senate passage of his legislation that would direct the Secretary of State to help Taiwan gain observer status at the World Health Organization's (WHO) World Health Assembly.

The bill, which passed Tuesday night by unanimous consent, would direct Secretary of State Colin Powell to endorse and help obtain observer status for Taiwan at the annual week-long summit of the World Health Assembly (WHA). The bill also would require Powell to submit a plan to Congress on how to accomplish this objective.

Brown said this bill is an important first step in fulfilling the commitment the U.S. made in the 1994 Taiwan Policy Review to more actively support Taiwan's membership in organizations such as the UN and WHO.

"Taiwan has eradicated smallpox, cholera, and polio, and has achieved infant mortality rates on par with Western Countries. These accomplishments warrant an invitation to participate in international health policy discussions," said Brown, who is a member of the House International Relations' Subcommittee on East Asia and the Pacific. "With a population of 23.5 million, Taiwan is larger than 75% of the countries that belong to the WHO. Taiwan is prepared to contribute meaningfully to the global health efforts discussed at WHA, but without observer status, its delegates can't even enter the room. This bill would prevent the international community from missing out on the insight and experience Taiwanese health officials can offer."

Brown said the WHO had granted the Palestine Liberation Organization, the Order of Malta, and the Vatican observer status at various activities. He also said the U.S., in a 1994 Taiwan Policy Review, declared its intention to help expand Taiwan's participation in international organizations.

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