| UNFPA twiced accused of coercive family planning!
August 1- The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has been accused of collaborating with the Peruvian government in forcing people into coercive family planning. The UNFPA has strongly denied these reports that have been largely made by anti-abortion groups. The UNFPA claims that these reports are false and were created by groups that are opposed to the very idea of family planning, including, of course, many religious organizations.
This is the second time in July that UNFPA has found itself having to manoeuvre around critical allegations. Earlier last month, it was accused of cooperating with the Chinese government in carrying out coercive programmes. This is an allegation that has led to the freezing of $34 million in funds by the Bush administration. These funds are indeed critical to the operation of the UNDP, since it operates largely on voluntary contributions from developed nations.
The conservative Population Research Institute (PRI), a family planning watchdog group, says that there is evidence that UNFPA was involved in forced sterilisation in Peru and China. Therefore, it commended the Bush adminisration's punitive actions against the UN agency. "The Bush administration has acted on sound policy in defence of women in China," said PRI president Steve Mosher. "The same should be applied to Peru."
Abubakar Dungus, a UNFPA spokesperson, said Monday that the UNFPA "is part of the solution, not the problem." He added: "When the UNFPA first learned of reports of involuntary sterilization in Peru in late 1997, we made a point to express to the Ministry of Health that with any form of family-planning, the recipient should be well-informed and given at least three days to think over the decision before going through with contraceptive measures. Free individual choice must always reign over coercion."
The UNFPA was set up in 1969 to assist developing countries in stablising population growth through improving reproductive health care and supporting sustainable development. It has an annual budget of about $300 million; its revenues come mostly from voluntary contributions by the UN's member states.
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