Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Archive
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help

Thursday, July 1, 1999 Published at 09:14 GMT 10:14 UK


UK Politics

Vatican gets Short shrift

Clare Short: Accuses the Vatican of being dangerously reactionary

The Vatican has entered an unholy alliance with the most reactionary countries in the world to stop an international effort to halt population growth, according to the UK international development secretary.


Clare Short: "The poor old Vatican has just got this wrong"
Clare Short, who describes herself as an ethnic Catholic, attacked the Holy See for its behaviour at a United Nations population control conference in New York.

She accused it of seeking to reverse a previous agreement aimed at curbing the explosion in the number of people in the world.


[ image: Opposition to birth control remains fierce within the Holy See]
Opposition to birth control remains fierce within the Holy See
The Vatican had joined forces with Muslim nations opposed to contraception and sex education - regarded as the solution by western policy-makers.

Despite this, the refusal of many Catholic countries including Ireland and Spain to back the Vatican's stance meant it had not succeeded, Ms Short said.

"The poor old Vatican has just got this wrong," she told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"They have teamed up in an alliance here in New York at the United Nations with Sudan, Algeria - some of the most reactionary countries in the world - to try and undo the agreement at Cairo."

World Population
The Cairo agreement reached in 1994 aimed to stop the growth in world population around the 10 billion mark. Currently, there are about six billion people living on the earth.

Ms Short said the Vatican had lost the argument and claimed this represented a victory for civilisation.


[ image: Former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell is an ambassador for the UN population fund]
Former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell is an ambassador for the UN population fund
"We now know what to do and oppression doesn't work," she said.

"If we do all the civilised things - give people access to contraception, give girls education - then the world's population will stabilise at 10 billion.

"If we don't develop and civilise then it will grow and grow and the strains on the world will become unbearable."

Ms Short earlier told the UN it had failed to take strong enough action to tackle the spread of Aids.

"We must stop pretending that sex does not happen to young people," she told the UN general assembly on Wednesday.

"We must start living up to our responsibility to tell young people what they need to know."

She is also demanding greater action to stop women dying in childbirth.



Advanced options | Search tips




Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©


UK Politics Contents

A-Z of Parliament
Talking Politics
Vote 2001

Relevant Stories

01 Jul 99 | World population
Population: Why we should worry

30 Jun 99 | World
Birth control divides population conference

29 Jun 99 | World population
World population: Special report





Internet Links


The Vatican

Department for International Development

UN Population Information Network


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.




In this section

Livingstone hits back

Catholic monarchy ban 'to continue'

Hamilton 'would sell mother'

Straw on trial over jury reform

Blairs' surprise over baby

Conceived by a spin doctor?

Baby cynics question timing

Blair in new attack on Livingstone

Week in Westminster

Chris Smith answers your questions

Reid quits PR job

Children take over the Assembly

Two sword lengths

Industry misses new trains target