UN POPULATION FUND REJECTS FALSE ALLEGATIONS ABOUT ITS WORK IN AFGHANISTAN

AFG/204-POP/841
16 August 2002

UN POPULATION FUND REJECTS FALSE ALLEGATIONS ABOUT ITS WORK IN AFGHANISTAN

16/08/2002
Press Release
AFG/204
POP/841


UN POPULATION FUND REJECTS FALSE ALLEGATIONS ABOUT ITS WORK IN AFGHANISTAN


Disinformation Endangers Women, United Nations

Staff and International Relief Workers, Says Agency


NEW YORK, 16 August (UNFPA) -- The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) today expressed outrage over false allegations made by the Population Research Institute (PRI) that the United Nations is funding “abortion campaigns” among Afghan refugees.  “This disinformation puts the lives of women, United Nations staff and international relief workers in danger”, said Stirling Scruggs, Director of UNFPA’s Information and External Relations Division.  “No United Nations agency has provided funding for abortion or forced sterilization in Afghan refugee camps or anywhere else”, Mr. Scruggs said.  “UNFPA is providing life-saving services, which are urgently needed, because one in 17 Afghan women dies during childbirth.”


Afghanistan’s Ministry of Health has requested UNFPA’s assistance to support reproductive health as an urgent priority for national reconstruction.  UNFPA has just announced the opening of a mobile hospital in Kabul to offer emergency obstetric care to save the lives of women and babies during delivery.  The mobile hospital has been set up while a damaged maternity hospital is being rehabilitated with UNFPA support. 


UNFPA has raised $10 million for Afghanistan from several governments including the United States, and continues to provide medical supplies, safe motherhood services, family planning and midwifery training.  All UNFPA-funded projects are undertaken in accordance with international human rights standards. “UNFPA is in the business of saving lives, increasing opportunities and helping families to escape from poverty so they can live happy, healthy and productive lives”, Mr. Scruggs said. 


The recent misinformation spread by the Population Research Institute in a 14 August press release is the latest in a series of false allegations by the group in their stated ongoing campaign to “drive the final nail in the coffin” of UNFPA.  None of their allegations have ever been supported.  During the past three years, the Population Research Institute has accused UNFPA of being a partner in “ethnic cleansing” in Kosovo, throwing food aid off airplanes to make room for abortion supplies, supporting forced sterilization in China and Peru, and promoting genocide in Afghan refugee camps. 


In Peru, UNFPA helped form a commission to stop coercive family planning practices.  In China, three separate fact-finding missions, including one by the United States State Department, found no evidence of any wrongdoing by UNFPA.


UNFPA is the world's largest multilateral source of population assistance. Since it became operational in 1969, it has provided more than $5.6 billion in assistance to developing countries.


For further information, contact: Stirling Scruggs Tel.: +1 (917) 400-4103, +1 (845) 255-9503; Abubakar Dungus +1 (212) 297-5031, fax: +1(212) 557-6416, or visit UNFPA’s web site: www.unfpa.org.


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For information media. Not an official record.