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Friday, November 19, 1999 Published at 02:12 GMT

World: Americas

UN caution Arab population growth

A top United Nations official, Atef Khalifa, has urged Arab countries to tackle women's rights to help stop population growth in their countries.

Mr Khalifa, who's director of the UN Population Fund, told Reuters news agency, women were the key to family life and needed equal rights and education in order to play thier rightful role in society.

He said an educated woman would chose a smaller family and a better quality of life.

Mr Khalifa said Arab societies were extremely resistant to sex education for youngsters and this led to misinformation.

UN estimates show that illiteracy rates among Arab women have risen by fifty-five percent while the use of contraceptives has dropped.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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