Voorhoeve lashes out at Bush

12th October 2005, Comments 0 comments

Updated 13 October 2005, AMSTERDAM — A former Dutch minister has criticised US President George W Bush for refusing for the fourth successive year to pay America's contribution to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

Updated 13 October 2005

AMSTERDAM — A former Dutch minister has criticised US President George W Bush for refusing for the fourth successive year to pay America's contribution to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

*sidebar1*Joris Voorhoeve made the comments on Wednesday when UNFPA's annual report was presented in The Hague.

Voorhoeve is chairman of the World Population Foundation, an independent Dutch NGO
aiming at the advancement of sexual and reproductive health and rights for people worldwide.

He was minister of defence in the Netherlands from 1994 to 1998 and is currently a member of the Council Of State.

He said the US contribution - amounting to USD 34 million - could have been used to prevent the deaths of 4,700 pregnant women. Another two million women could have been helped to avoid unwanted pregnancy.

Some 800,000 and the deaths of 77,000 babies and children could also have been prevented with the US contribution, Voorhoeve said.

The US Congress approved the funding, but President Bush has vetoed the payment purely because of "domestic political concerns", he said.

Several years ago, the UNFPA was accused of indirectly supporting abortion in China. American experts investigated the claim and dismissed it as unfounded. Nevertheless, President Bush has refused to support the UNFPA since then, Voorhoeve said.

"This blockade by Bush is counterproductive. He is against abortion but withholding money from the UNFPA results in more illegal abortions in developing countries," he claimed.

"There is a direct link between the USD 34 million and the 4,700 women who died in labour, the two million unplanned pregnancies and countless more HIV/Aids infections," Voorhoeve said.

The EU has decided to make good the amount withheld from the agency by the US. The Netherlands is the largest donor, contributing EUR 65 million annually to the total UNFPA budget of EUR 500 million.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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