Autor: ---- Fuente: C-FAM (Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute)

126-2   A recent article in the British medical journal The Lancet may be the opening shot in a governmental struggle over the next head of the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF). The Lancet article roundly criticizes current UNICEF head Carol Bellamy for sacrificing the survival of children in order to pursue a radical rights-based agenda. Specifically the article charges Bellamy with "pervasive neglect of [UNICEF's] central mission" of reducing child mortality, and denounces Executive Director Carol Bellamy's
focus on a radical ideology of feminism.

The Lancet charges that while Bellamy's "rights-based approach to the future of children fits well with the zeitgeist of international development policy," her "preoccupation with rights ignores the fact that children will have no opportunity for development at all unless they survive. The language of rights means little to a child stillborn, an infant dying in pain from pneumonia, or a child desiccated by famine. The ost fundamental right of all is the right to survive. Child survival must sit at the core of UNICEF's advocacy and country work. Currently, and shamefully, it does not."

The Lancet reports new data showing that 600,000 children continue to die each year of preventable causes, and in some areas, child mortality is "actually increasing," although "cost effective interventions are available for all major causes of child mortality." The data shows that "coverage levels for these interventions are appallingly low in the 42 countries that account for 90% of child deaths," a "shocking" discovery for "those who believed that had been making steady progress in improving child survival."

Bellamy was appointed by US President Bill Clinton in 1995 and was chosen for a second term which is expiring next spring. Bellamy is considered by many to be a radical feminist who is well known for her pro-abortion stance. As a New York State senator, Bellamy twice voted against the passage of a bill that would have protected infants born alive due to botched abortions.

Under Bellamy's leadership, UNICEF has strayed ever deeper into controversial areas such as making condoms available to children and distributing graphic sexual education materials in Latin America. In 1996 the Holy See withdrew its financial support from after learning that
UNICEF endorsed access to abortifacient "emergency contraceptives" for
refugee women and was involved in advocacy for changing national abortion legislation. Last year, a high ranking UNICEF official also called for legalized and unionized prostitution.

Though the top position at UNICEF is appointed by the UN Secretary General, it usually comes from recommendations made by UNICEF's top donor, the United States government. There is little doubt that other parts of the world, especially the European Union, would like to break the American hold on the top UNICEF position. The Lancet article could be seen in that light.

The Lancet appeals to UNICEF for a "reorientation" to the priorities it held under Bellamy's predecessor Jim Grant, who was responsible for "UNICEF's greatest contribution to date to the welfare of children worldwide." In 1982, Grant launched a "child survival and development revolution" that consisted of "four simple interventions - growth monitoring, oral rehydration therapy, breastfeeding, and immunization." Grant's focus on basic necessities "saved the lives of over 20 million
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