World

US ends funding for UN agency

UNITED NATIONS: The US State Department said on Monday it is ending US funding for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the international body's agency focused on family planning as well as maternal and child health in more than 150 countries.

The State Department said it is dropping the funding because the UNFPA "supports, or participates in the management of, a programme of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilisation."

The cut marks US President Donald Trump's first move to curtail funding for the United Nations, and it is likely to raise further questions about how deep those cuts will eventually go throughout the organisation, where the US is the top donor.

It comes after Mr Trump reinstated the rule that withholds US funding for international organisations that perform abortions or provide information about abortion.

In a statement on its website, UNFPA said it regrets the US' decision to end funding, which it said is based on an "erroneous claim" that the agency supports coercive abortion or involuntary sterilisation in China.

It said its mission is "to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person's potential is fulfilled". - REUTERS

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