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Government must pressure US into releasing funding for family planning

By July 22, 2002News

– Release date: 23 July 2002

The Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) has condemned the decision by US President, George Bush, not to grant $35 million to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The money was appropriated by the US congress earlier this year.

The IFPA is the United Nations Population Fund's partner in Ireland.

"The decision by the US President not to release the $35 million allocation to UNFPA will inevitably cost thousands of lives worldwide. UNFPA successfully provides family planning services, gynecological services, HIV and STI prevention and education in developing countries and in regions of conflict. Without adequate funding, the provision of these vital services will be greatly curtailed," said IFPA Chief Executive, Tony O'Brien.

"The decision by President Bush to withhold UNFPA funding is based on allegations that the organisation supports China's one-child policy. However, UNFPA has never condoned or supported this policy. Indeed, a US Congress fact-finding mission to China concluded that the allegations were false."

"If anything, the decision by President Bush will result in the return of back-street abortions in some regions. Lack of adequate funding for UNFPA will result in the withdrawal of family planning services to some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world."

"It is critical that the Irish Government condemns this decision and calls on President Bush to reconsider the implications of withholding financial support to UNFPA. This decision is a blow to the UN and what it stands for in terms of human rights."

"The Irish Government should also move to lobby the EU to ensure that any shortfalls in UNFPA funding are met by the EU and its memberstates. The imperative for Ireland to continue its support for the work of UNFPA is now greater than ever," added Mr O'Brien.

Useful Link: www.unfpa.org