Population Policies

House of Lords written question – answered on 7th November 2001.

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Photo of Lord Alton of Liverpool Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench

asked Her Majesty's Government:

On what basis they maintain that the United Nations Population Fund monitors coercive population policies in the 47 counties referred to by Lord Grocott on the International Development Bill (H.L. Deb., 25 October, col. 1119); what data have been published and what monitoring takes place in the other 2,435 Chinese counties.

Photo of Baroness Amos Baroness Amos Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

UNFPA's programme in China is the subject of close scrutiny. The fund seeks through its own routine monitoring to visit sites in all counties where it is providing support twice each year. Members of UNFPA's Executive Board including the United Kingdom, United States and EU member states, and developing countries have also made external monitoring visits to programme areas on at least two occasions since 1999. Representatives from EU member state missions also maintain close interest in UNFPA's programme. US Congressional staff and officials from US missions in China have also made several visits to monitor UNFPA's work in China. UNFPA's new Executive Director, Dr Thoraya Obaid, is visiting China in December to review the programme.

UNFPA maintains a watching brief on non-UNFPA programme counties and reports allegations of abuses by family planning officials in other parts of China to the Chinese authorities. UNFPA also investigates specific allegations of abuse through independent mission visits. I will arrange for a copy of the report of the October 2001 mission to UNFPA programme counties in China, led by Dr Nicholas Biegman, former Dutch Ambassador to the United Nations, to be placed in the Library of the House.

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