UN chief: U.S. funding cut to UNFPA could be devastating for health of vulnerable women

Source: Xinhua| 2017-04-05 04:16:40|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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UNITED NATIONS, April 4 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday said that the U.S. funding cut for the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) could have devastating effects on the health of vulnerable women and girls around the world.

The U.S. Department of State has announced that it is cutting funding for UNFPA for the fiscal year of 2017. It was withholding 32.5 million U.S. dollars for the UN agency.

"The Secretary-General deeply regrets the decision by the United States to cut financial support for the UN Population Fund," UN Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric told a daily briefing.

"He believes that the decision is based on an inaccurate perception of the nature and importance of the work of UNFPA," said Dujarric.

In a letter to U.S. Senate and Chairman of Foreign Relations Committee Bob Corker, the state department said it denies the funding because the UNFPA "supports, or participates in the management of, a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization" in China, which UNFPA refuted as an "erroneous claim."

"UNFPA refutes this claim, as all of its work promotes the human rights of individuals and couples to make their own decisions, free of coercion or discrimination," said the UN agency in a statement.

"Indeed, United Nations Member States have long described UNFPA's work in China as a force for good," added the statement.

The UNFPA is a UN agency which works for the improvement of reproductive health. It describes itself as the lead UN agency for "delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person's potential is fulfilled."

The agency works in more than 150 countries and regions, home to more than 80 percent of the world's population. In 2016, the agency has saved the lives of 2,340 women from dying during pregnancy and childbirth and helped 3 million couples prevent unwanted pregnancy.