Monday, September 17, 2007

Letter to the Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations

Readers who agree with the contents of the following letter, sent today to the Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations, are encouraged to copy and paste, sign and send it to the address below, or alter it so that it will reflect whichever mission they would like to send it to. If a response is received from the Permanent Mission, I will post it here.

Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations
One Dag Hammarskjold Plaza
885 Second Avenue, 14th Floor
New York, NY 10017

Monday, September 17, 2007

Ever since the creation of the United Nations in 1945, Canada has prided itself in — justly so — being an active participant at, and promoter of, this most indispensable of international institutions.

Through its unflinching dedication to multilateralism as a means to tap into the greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts ingenuity of civilization and its having taken a leading role in UN endeavors ranging from peacekeeping to environmental protection to human rights, Canada has demonstrated, beyond any doubt, its commitment to inclusiveness and universality, two principles that constitute the very foundations of the international body. Canada’s favorable image abroad, which opens doors to its citizens wherever they go, is in part the result of its longstanding commitment to the UN.

And yet, when it comes to the ongoing repression of the 23 million people of Taiwan, which against all odds turned into a vibrant democracy in the1990s, Canada, like other UN members, has been conspicuously silent — a situation that, sadly, has only deteriorated since Ban Ki-moon assumed his position as UN Secretary-General last year.

Despite what it claims, Beijing does not represent the interests of Taiwanese. Rather, for years it has threatened to use force against Taiwan (the “Anti Secession” law, passed in 2005, along with the odd 1,000 missiles bristling Taiwan-wards, attest to this). Unable to be a responsible stakeholder when it comes to the health of its own population, as it clearly demonstrated, among other instances, by hiding the severity of its SARS outbreak in 2003 and arresting those who tried to make the threat public, China certainly cannot be expected to represent — though it says it does — the 23 million people of Taiwan at international institutions. As for human rights, the daily news speak for themselves, with activists thrown into jail by the thousands and far more expelled from their homes as China builds its economy.

Beijing continues to pressure, blackmail and threaten UN member states into ignoring the rights of Taiwanese, and has been so successful doing this that on numerous occasions Taiwanese representatives have been discriminated against and humiliated whenever they sought to represent Taiwanese at such bodies as the World Health Organization, the World Health Assembly and, just recently, the Basel Convention on Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal.

Every UN member state that, at modicum, fails to raise the issue — on moral grounds or for the sake of international cooperation of the kind that is so needed to address the plentiful challenges facing humankind in the 21st century — can but be accused of being complicit in Beijing’s repression of Taiwanese and of choosing to ignore a continued aggression that is diametrically opposed to everything the UN stands for.

True, the UN and the international community face more immediate and serious problems, such as continuing genocide in Darfur, security challenges in Iraq and Afghanistan, the AIDS epidemic, global warming, poverty and so on. But the presence of these challenges should not by any means obviate the need to fight for justice whenever a situation arises that calls for intervention, as in Taiwan’s case. Failure to do so would be tantamount to buying the argument, voiced by some, that world powers should not have intervened to stop ethnic cleansing and mass murder in Bosnia/Croatia because simultaneously a genocide was going on in Rwanda. Greater emergencies do not necessarily mean that we must abandon other worthy causes.

As such, we, citizens of Taiwan and expatriates who have come to love this nation, call upon the Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations to reflect the spirit of the UN, of Canada and of humanity by raising a voice of opposition to Beijing’s unforgivable isolation of Taiwan at the UN and its affiliated institutions. Just as it has done in the past, Canada should take the lead and defend the values of humanity it, and the UN, supposedly stand for.

Respectfully yours,


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