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AFRO-NETS> US threatens Cairo Program of Action of 1994


  • Subject: AFRO-NETS> US threatens Cairo Program of Action of 1994
  • From: Claudio Schuftan <aviva@netnam.vn>
  • Date: Tue, 19 Nov 2002 15:27:37 -0500 (EST)




US threatens Cairo Program of Action of 1994
--------------------------------------------

Bush Government Threatens To Roll Back Women's Reproductive Rights
Petition

"As supporters of women's rights worldwide, we are deeply disturbed
by the statement made by a US delegate at the recent Preparatory
Meeting for the forthcoming Fifth Asian and Pacific Population Con-
ference that will take place 11-17 December 2002 in Bangkok. The US
has threatened to withdraw from the Cairo Programme of Action of 1994
unless the words reproductive health services and reproductive rights
are taken out or changed. This is a shocking development which is a
threat to women's rights and women's health world wide. We demand
that the Cairo Program of Action that has been endorsed by 179 na-
tions be upheld. Reproductive health services and reproductive rights
are essential human rights. Reproductive rights and reproductive
health services are integral to the Cairo Program of Action. If the
US breaks their commitment to the United Nations and to the world
community, there will be disastrous consequences for women in all
parts of the world who are in need of safe and effective contracep-
tive and abortion information and services. The position that the
Bush administration has taken sets back the efforts of women's or-
ganizations by several decades and needs to be resisted. We urge you
to make your own statement of protest and send it to the US admini-
stration, to the UN and to sign our petition on line at:
http://www.PetitionOnline.com/USantiWO/petition.html

The petition will be presented to: President Bush, President of the
United States Koffi Annan, Secretary General of the UN and Thoraya
Ahmed Obaid, head of the UNFPA

You can send a message of protest to:

George W. Bush:
mailto:president@whitehouse.gov

Dick Cheney:
mailto:vice.president@whitehouse.gov

And the US Speaker of the House, Mr. Hastert:
mailto:speaker@mail.house.gov

with copies to
- Mrs. Suman Mehta, UNFPA:
mailto:mehta@unfpa.org
- Mr. Koffi Annan, Secretary-General:
mailto:un@un.org/inquiries@un.org

Statement of Protest

Bush Government Threatens To Roll Back Women's Reproductive Rights

We the staff of the Coordination Office of the Women's Global Network
for Reproductive Rights, are shocked and deeply disturbed by the re-
cent statement reported to have been made by a US delegate at the re-
cent Preparatory Meeting for the forthcoming Fifth Asian and Pacific
Population Conference that will take place 11-17 December 2002 in
Bangkok. The Bush administration has threatened to withdraw from the
1994 Cairo Programme of Action that was drawn at the UN International
Conference on Population and Development, held in Cairo in 1994,
unless the words reproductive health services and reproductive rights
are taken out of the Cairo Programme of Action. This is another in a
series of steps taken by the US government in recent years to with-
draw from programmes that they believe promote abortion. The terms
reproductive health services and reproductive rights - figure in the
final declaration of the United Nation's Cairo Program of Action.
This marked a clear shift in population policy that was based on re-
spect for the rights of women as opposed to demographic goals. The
declaration has since been endorsed by 179 nations and has been ap-
plauded by the women's movement. The Bush government's recent threat
has startled members of other delegations attending the Asia Pacific
Population Conference. According to UN officials, Chinese, Indonesian
and Indian officials were quick to criticize the proposal and argued
that the shift in the US position would undermine a global consensus
reached on population policy. The Dutch minister for development co-
operation Ms. Agnes van Ardenne's response to the US position was
sharp and pointed. She said, "I think it is disappointing and in-
credible. Poverty reduction will not be successful without reproduc-
tive health and without women being able to make their own choices".
US Congressional Democrats and UN officials underscored these con-
cerns that the US position would undermine all family planning ef-
forts. As members of the international women and reproductive rights
movement we see the withdrawal of the US from the Cairo Programme of
Action, as a step that will take away the gains made by the women's
movement over the past decades. Women all over the world have a right
to safe and effective contraception and abortion information and ser-
vices. This right is fundamental to women's equality and empowerment
and to the advancement of society everywhere. By putting the right to
reproductive health and reproductive rights in question the US gov-
ernment signals a deeply retrograde step that will not just reflect
on democratic principles supposedly upheld by the US government but
also the position of women all over the world.

Staff Coordination Office
Women's Global Network for Reproductive Rights

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