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Defending life
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SPUC condemns government on human rights and aid

17 July 2001

SPUC condemns government on human rights and aid Westminster, 17 July 2001--The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) has condemned the British government's refusal to make overseas aid conditional on human rights. Speaking in yesterday's debate on the International Development Bill, Baroness Amos, a foreign office minister, said: "I do not agree that the [International Development] Bill should include a requirement for the Secretary of State to take account of a government's human rights record in determining the nature and scale of assistance for its people." Anthony Ozimic, SPUC's political secretary, commented: "This refusal to make overseas aid conditional on the human rights record of the recipient country makes a complete mockery of the government's so-called ethical foreign policy. Indeed, millions of pounds of British taxpayers' money are being passed through the United Nations Population Fund for use in China's one-child policy, which the British government admits is coercive. "Even one of the International Development department's own publications states that British-funded organisations involved in China's population policy have not moderated gross violations of human rights, such as the ethnic cleansing of the Tibetan people through forced abortions and sterilisation," Ozimic said. Ozimic added: "We welcome yesterday's move by Baroness Young and a cross-party coalition of peers to amend the Bill and force the government to stop funding human rights abuses in the developing world." Last night the Committee stage of the International Development Bill was held in the House of Lords, which can be read at . Baroness Young, with the support of Lord Alton of Liverpool, Baroness Cox and Baroness Rawlings, tabled an amendment to Clause 7(5) of the bill, which reads: "Assistance may not be provided to any person or body that is assisting, promoting or practising coercive population policies". As is often customary at committee-stage, this motion was withdrawn for consideration at report stage. The report stage of the bill in the House of Lords will be on Tuesday 16 October.

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