World Population Awareness

Religion, Culture

UN, World Bank Asked to Set Example, Promote More Women

April 2, 2005, Agence France Presse

Carol Bellamy, director of UNICEF, pointed a finger at her own organization as a laggard in women's rights. The UN needs to put women in senior jobs. Other global institutions ought to recruit women in their top ranks. There are many opportunities, starting with the openings heading up UNDP and the World Bank. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan agreed with her, and said we have to try harder. According to official figures, women hold only nine of 27 jobs as director of a UN agency or program, and 12 out of 54 senior posts in the UN Secretariat. The White House, which traditionally chooses the World Bank president, is reported to be considering Carly Fiorina, the ex-chief executive of Hewlett Packard and one of the top US executives. Another vacant UN position is High Commissioner for Refugees, and the UN has recently solicited nominations from its 191 member states. Until now, many senior UN appointments have been handled through non-transparent political negotiations to meet with the UN charter's recommendation of equitable geographic representation. doclink

uld see as a damaging effect.

An initiative recently begun by the British government and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to provide family planning facilities for many millions of women who were previously denied them was intended to prevent unwanted pregnancies which often endanger the mother's health or produce another mouth which it will prove hard to feed.

But official Roman Catholic church strenuously resists initiatives of this kind, both on grounds of doctrine and by arguing that the money involved could be better spent in other ways.

Many Christians take another view, saying that it has been conceded that sexual intercourse has a wider purpose than procreation it is hard to see why artificial contraception within marriage should be forbidden. doclink

Jesus All About Tolerance

Sacremento Bee LTE by Margaret Loehr

Once again, fear and hatred mask themselves as religion and loudly encourages intolerance in the name of Jesus.

Jesus never mentioned homosexuality or abortion.

Nor did he ever suggest that there was a "right" religion or that the purpose of religion was to judge others and get them to do what we want them to do.

Rather, he taught tolerance for the divinity in all.

He railed against hypocrisy. He realized that the reason we condemn others is to distract ourselves from clearly seeing our own improprieties.

If we sincerely want to heal the woes of humanity, we cannot do it through hatred and intolerance. Our hope lies in our ability to move into acceptance of our own humanity and the humanity of others. Buddha, Lao Tzu, Confucius, Socrates, Gandhi, Jesus and many others all emphasized this simple message. doclink

New York Times*

Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and most of Judaism and Christianity see responsible parenthood in marriage, including the use of contraception, as a moral good. Highly respected religious leaders, including two Nobel laureates, have opened the door to admit abortion in some circumstances. Anglican Bishop Desmond Tutu supported the South African constitutional provision legalizing abortion. And the Dalai Lama, while generally opposed to abortion, said in a New York Times Sunday Magazine profile, "I think abortion should be approved or disapproved according to the circumstances." Indeed, in mainline Christianity, fairly widespread support exists for population stabilization (not a women's-rights issue) and for family planning and even abortion, as necessary, to save the planet. doclink

ding the mixed messages is the Senate's refusal to ratify the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women. Without ratification, the U.S. can't take part in encouraging women's rights. Only 10 percent of U.N. nations haven't ratified it. Every time there's a change in the White House, the rules on global women's rights get rewritten. doclink

Desmond Tutu, Former Anglican Archbishop of CapeTown

Planned parenthood is an obligation of those who are Christians. Our church thinks we should use scientific methods that assist in family planning. doclink

ina. The U.S. money was intended for safe motherhood services, contraceptives and HIV prevention services to women in the world's poorest countries. Canada's contributions were increased to almost $17 million. Before the U.S. cut funds, the UNFPA had only 92 donors - now 166 contribute. The issues addressed by the UNFPA are more serious than anyone could have imagined. In 1995, eight million women were infected with HIV. Now, there are 17.6 million. Millions of women don't have access to family planning, are being raped, and maternal mortality rates are high. HIV and reproductive rights activists must work together. The pro-abstinence policies of the U.S. are criticized as AIDS has a young married woman's face and abstaining from sex with their husbands isn't an option - they need contraceptive services. doclink

Isaiah 5:8 - The Unbound Bible

"Woe unto them that join house to house, lay field to field, till [there be] no place, that they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth!" doclink

er Smith, and there are thousands of other victims. Couples who have unsanctioned children have been subject to heavy fines, job losses and forced sterilization. There have been modifications, allowing second children for ethnic populations and rural families whose first child is a girl. In 2002, Beijing enacted a national law aimed at standardizing birth-control policies and reducing corruption and coercion and there are encouraging signs that China understands that its coercive birth-planning regime has had negative social, economic and human rights consequences for the nation. In some areas there is a strong desire for male heirs, and the sex ratio may be as much as 122 boys for every 100 girls. In southern Guangdong Province, party secretaries and village heads were told their salaries would be cut in half if, in a 35-day period, they did not sterilize 1,369 people, fit 818 with IUDs and carry out 163 abortions. George Bush's administration has for the last three years barred U.S. funds for the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) charging that its support of China's programs allows China to implement its policies of coercive abortion. doclink

The UNFPA in China has promoted voluntary family planning and contraception which avoids abortion and forced sterilization. The UNFPA does not promote abortion and involuntary sterilization.

Child Marriage

December 16, 2004, Chicago Tribune

Before they become women, more than 51 million girls in developing countries become wives and mothers and victims of HIV, domestic violence, poverty and social rejection. The consequences of child marriage are negative and lasting. When you consider the health consequences and the human cost, this is probably the largest human rights abuse you could name. The Bush administration withdrawal of funding for UNFPA has had repercussions in the battle to fight and treat the ravages of child marriage. UNFPA officials deny that they support or participate in any program involving abortion or sterilization. But the loss of U.S. funding, 13% of UNFPA budget, has sapped the efforts in an array of maternal issues, including the treatment of obstetric fistula. They have concerns about coercive abortions in China and that's why we are working on appropriate family planning and coercion is wrong. doclink

China Defends 'One Child' Birth Limits against U.S. Criticism

December 21, 2004, Associated Press

China rejected U.S. complaints that its birth controls encourage abortions, saying the regulations that limit most urban couples to one child are necessary for the country's economic health. U.S. said that despite improvements, China's policy to restrain the growth of its population is coercive. Speaking at a news briefing, Liu said forced abortions are illegal in China and anyone who knows of them should report them to authorities. Under the Chinese policy, couples who have unsanctioned children can be fined, lose their jobs or undergo sterilization. In 2002, under strong U.S. pressure, Beijing enacted a national law aimed at standardizing birth-control policies and reducing corruption and coercion. Bush's administration has for the last three years barred U.S. funds for the U.N. Population Fund, saying its support allows China to carry out coercive abortions. doclink

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