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Taiwan protests denied entry of Taiwanese to U.N. Geneva office tour

2015/09/17 20:30:21

Taipei, Sept. 17 (CNA) Taiwan has lodged a protest with the United Nations over the issue of Taiwanese nationals being denied entry to the U.N. office in Geneva for guided tours, a Taiwanese official said Thursday.

There have been cases in which Taiwanese nationals were denied entry to the U.N. Geneva office for tours, even though they have presented passports as the required government-issued photo identification documents, said Michael Hsu (徐佩勇), director-general of the Department of International Organizations in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, at a regular news briefing.

The Republic of China government lost its U.N. seat to Beijing in 1971, and subsequently its participation in U.N.-related organizations has been limited under the U.N. one-China policy, he said.

"But the government has never accepted any unreasonable moves by the U.N. and our representative office in Geneva has continued to negotiate with U.N.-related agencies," he said.

His remarks came in response to questions about a report in which a Taiwanese woman, surnamed Tsai, said that she was denied entry by security officers at the entrance to the Palais des Nations, home to the U.N. office in Geneva, on Sept. 15.

Tsai presented her Taiwanese passport and another photo ID but the officer refused to recognize her passport as a legal document because the U.N. does not consider Taiwan a country, the report said.

Upon learning of the incident, Hsu said officials with Taiwan's representative office in Geneva brought up the issue with the U.N. office there and lodged a protest.

The U.N. office, however, responded that it did not have a record of Tsai's case, but mentioned another case in which a Taiwanese man was denied entry to the Palais des Nations on Sept. 15 because he only had his passport and no other form of photo ID as is required for the security check, Hsu said.

"We're still trying to look into Tsai's case," he said, stressing that the ROC government would never accept such measures.

According to the U.N.'s security regulations, visitors are required to present their government-issued photo identification documents to enter U.N. offices. Photo identification documents can include a passport, driver's license or national identity card.

However, due to Taiwan's special international status, Taiwanese visitors are required to present two photo IDs, Hsu said.

Over the past years, there have been some cases in which Taiwanese nationals have been denied entry to the U.N. office in Geneva or the U.N. headquarters in New York, despite presenting their passport as the required document, he said.

Despite these cases of denied entry, Hsu said he believes that most of the Taiwanese visitors have entered those places successfully.

“We will continue to negotiate the issue with U.N.-related agencies to ensure that the rights of Taiwanese nationals are protected,”he said.

The government has also sought help from like-minded countries such as Australia, Canada and the United States and urged them to support Taiwan on this matter, he added.

(By Elaine Hou)