Eighty-Five World Leaders Support Cairo Plan, Bush Refuses
Over 250 global leaders have endorsed a statement that reaffirms the plan of action created ten years ago at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo. President Bush has refused to join the 250 world leaders including 85 heads of state and governments in signing the statement that ensures the rights of women to education, health care, and to reproductive choice, the Associated Press reports. US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Kelly Ryan explained that Bush would not sign the world leaders’ statement because it “includes the concept of ‘sexual rights,’ a term that has no agreed definition in the international community.” The ICPD statement was signed by leaders from Mexico, Canada, all member countries of the European Union, China, Japan, Indonesia, Pakistan, Botswana, and over a dozen other African countries, as well as 22 former world leaders including Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton according to Oneworld.net.
The Cairo plan of action intended to grant women the “right to make decisions concerning reproduction, free of discrimination, coercion and violence as expressed in human rights documents.” The Associated Press reports that although the term “sexual rights” was not used in the Cairo plan adopted by the US and 178 other countries in 1994, the term was used in the United Nation’s Fourth World Women’s Conference in 1995, which the Clinton Administration not only signed but played a leadership role in drafting.
The Bush administration have withheld over $70 million in funding approved by the US Congress from the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), and have also threatened to withhold contributions to those who will not break ties with the UNFPA, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Oneworld.net reports.