World Veterans Federation convenes in Taipei
By L. J. Lamb ,Special to The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- The World Veterans Federation's (WVF) 21st Meeting of the Standing Committee for Asia and the Pacific has just concluded its annual conference in Taipei, with representatives and observers from 14 Asia-Pacific countries in attendance.
October 16, 2013, 12:11 am TWN
The World Veterans Federation (WVF) is the world's largest international veterans organization, consisting of 170 veterans organizations from 93 countries, representing 25-30 million veterans worldwide. The WVF is a humanitarian organization, a charity and a peace activist movement.
The WVF has maintained its consultative status with the United Nations since 1951 and was conferred the title of “Peace Messenger” in 1987. The WVF began on Sunday, June 9, 1946, when six Belgian and French veterans of the World War I gathered around a table at the “Maison du Peuple” in Brussels, Belgium to discuss the possibility of setting up a world association of war veterans.
In addition to discussing specific matters related to the WVF operations, the Standing Committee delegates received a briefing on the R.O.C. Veterans Affairs Commission, called on Vice President Wu Den-yih and the minister of national defense, visited a veterans home and the VeteransGeneral Hospital and paid respects at the Martyr's Shrine and Chiang Kai-shek Memorial.
R.O.C. Air Force Lieutenant General, Ret., Frank Kao welcomed the delegates on behalf of the Veterans Association of the Republic of China, which has a membership of 300,000 R.O.C. veterans on Taiwan Proper, the offshore islands, and in six chapters overseas.
In his speech to the WVF Conference, Vice President Wu said: “Veterans have all realized the cruelty of war, and they also are the most reluctant to see another war. We look forward to see all member organizations maximize force in their countries, make an impact in the formation of public opinion by bringing up resolutions to ask their governments and civil society to promote the peace movement; meanwhile, inspire people to cultivate a culture of respect for veterans.”
Michael Hurst M.B.E., director, Taiwan Prisoner of War (POW) Camps Memorial Society, reported: “In total, 14 POW camps were set up on Taiwan by the Japanese during World War II and spread from south to north on the island. They were used to imprison more than 4,350 POWs from the UK, U.S., the Dutch East Indies, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa ... The POWs suffered terribly at the hands of the Japanese in all of the 14 POW camps on the island. They never had enough food to eat and were always hungry — starving most of the time.”
The Veterans Affairs Commission (VAC) of the R.O.C. was established in 1954. The VAC is a Cabinet-level department of the R.O.C. Its main mission is to take care of veterans. According to R.O.C. Constitution, the VAC provides veterans educational assistance, employment assistance, medical care and home care when they retire from the military.