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United Nations Fund for Population Activities in China

Sichan Siv, U.S. Representative to the UN Economic and Social Council
Statement During the First Regular Session of the UNFPA Executive Board
New York, New York
January 21, 2003

Released by the U.S. Mission to the United Nations

Mr. President, the United States continues to have deep concerns about UNFPA’s [United Nations Population Fund] activities in China. In the fourth country program, UNFPA and China agreed to lift targets and quotas in UNFPA program counties. Other coercive practices, however, aimed at limiting family size, were not removed. These include severe financial penalties and loss of employment.

We believe that UNFPA should not be associated in any way with coercion. UNFPA’s proposed new China program as approved by the Board today will not achieve this goal. We have made clear to UNFPA that there are approaches, consistent with ICPD [International Conference on Population and Development] principles, that it might have pursued in drafting the fifth country program that would not support coercive laws and practices. We have also been working constructively with our colleagues from China on this objective but have not yet had a satisfactory solution.

We urge UNFPA to address fully the issue of coercion in the implementation of this program. As it gets underway, we request that the Executive Director report periodically on whether counties in which UNFPA operates have effectively ceased coercive birth limitation practices.

In summary, we cannot support the proposed program in its current form. The fundamental right to "found a family" is recognized by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The individual’s basic right to determine the number of children in a family has also been internationally recognized and is reaffirmed in the ICPD.

Consistent with ICPD principles, we call upon the Board to join us in opposing all practices tantamount to coercion in matters of family size. We ask each member of the Board to support our recommendation that UNFPA operate only in counties where the Chinese Government does not seek to enforce limits on the number of children.


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