Congressional Members Call for Renewed US Support for UNFPA

Members of Congress are calling for renewed US support for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to aid victims of the tsunami. Representative Joseph Crowley (D-NY) recently led five Democratic members of Congress to Sri Lanka to examine the work of the UNFPA in the stricken area, reports the Associated Press.

“The United Nations Population Fund is on the ground, providing reproductive and child healthcare to the women and children in Sri Lanka and the other eleven nations affected by the tsunami. It is unfair that the Bush Administration is holding up funding by not supporting the UNFPA,” said Crowley. Since July 2002, the Bush Administration has stopped each year $34 million of Congressionally approved money for the UNFPA.

According to a letter recently sent to newly confirmed Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice by seven members of Congress, including Representatives Crowley, Louise Slaughter (D-NY), Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX), Linda Sanchez (D-CA), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Al Green (D-TX), and Steven Israel (D-NY), more than 150,000 women are pregnant in the tsunami-hit areas and “the release of the $34 million appropriated to the UNFPA for FY2005 would have an immediate, life saving impact on these women and their children.”

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Associated Press 1/18/05; Congress of the United States press release 1/25/05; Letter to Secretary Rice 1/24/05

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