Annan Says Women's Equality Hurt; U.S. Raises Abortion[more . . .]
Mon Feb 28, 2005 12:07 PM ET
By Evelyn Leopold
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan warned Monday that sex trafficking and the growth of AIDS were imperiling the quest for female equality as the United States raised the divisive issue of abortion rights.
Annan told the opening of a two-week conference on women's rights that many governments since the 1995 Beijing women's conference had recognized that women's equality was critical to a nation's development and growth.
The U.N. meeting, with at least 100 government delegations, 80 ministers from Afghanistan to Peru, as well as 6,000 activists, is analyzing progress and setbacks since the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995.
Rather than producing a lengthy document, the organizers decided to keep controversies in check by writing a short declaration that reaffirms and pledges implementation of the 150-page platform of action agreed to in Beijing.
But, to the dismay of key delegates, the United States submitted amendments at a negotiating session Friday, declaring that the Beijing conference did not create "any new international human rights" and did not include the right to abortion . . .
As far as I'm concerned, Kofi Annan every day appears more and more to be a jerk. But he is right on this one.