Congressional Hearing On UN Group Working With China Abortion Policy

WASHINGTON, DC, Oct 18, 01 ( - Human rights activists told the US Congress on Wednesday that, despite UN assurances, forced abortions and sterilizations continue in Chinese counties in which the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) operates.

Josephine Guy told the House International Relations Committee of a recent investigation conducted inside China by the Population Research Institute (PRI) in which Chinese women gave harrowing accounts of coercive practices. A woman who was pregnant with her second child told Guy that officials "wanted me to report to the hospital for an abortion but I refused to go. I went into hiding in my mother's village. They arrested six people in my mother-in-law's family and destroyed three homes." With investigators present, while one woman was led in for an abortion, her friends said she wanted to keep the baby, "but the law forbids it."

According to Steven Mosher, president of PRI, this evidence contradicts UNFPA claims that it only participates in regions where the Chinese government has suspended the one-child policy and abandoned all coercive practices. Mosher presented a photo showing that the UNFPA office in one county was located within the Chinese Office of Family Planning-- the very agency carrying out the coercive practices. Guy said, "We photographed the UNFPA office desk, which faces-- in fact, touches-- a desk of the Chinese Office of Family Planning. They would literally have to look at each other all day to do their work."

According to the witnesses, this working relationship means that UNFPA must either actively promote coercion or tacitly endorse it by ignoring its existence. Rep. Christopher Smith, R-New Jersey, agreed, claiming that UNFPA was guilty of "white-washing" the Chinese atrocities. In light of this testimony, Smith stated that UNFPA "should be tried at the Hague along with the Chinese dictators."

UNFPA did not attend the hearing, but did send a letter to Rep. Henry Hyde, R-Illinois, the chairman of the committee, saying that UNFPA "has not, does not, and will not ever condone coercive activities in China or anywhere else." UNFPA also claimed, "The Fund is a global leader in working to eliminate the use of coercive family planning practices," an assertion long under fire from critics.

UNFPA lost all US funding several years ago for its complicity in Chinese population control. In the current budget, the Senate has increased UNFPA funding from $25 million to $39 million. Opponents want UNFPA to again lose all US funds.

CWN - Catholic World News
18. oktober 2001