TUTU CHALLENGES VATICAN ON BIRTH CONTROL, ABORTION. In this Reuter’s report Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa calls for a six month moratorium on debts for African nations and challenges the Vatican’s claims that population control was bad for the Third Word.
TUTU CHALLENGES VATICAN ON BIRTH CONTROL, ABORTION
6/17/94 4:42 AM
UNITED NATIONS, June 17 (Reuter) - Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa called for a six month moratorium on debts for African nations and challenged the Vatican’s claims that population control was bad for the Third Word.
Tutu was the main speaker at the annual Day of the African Child, which ended late Thursday with a gala festival of film stars, led by Harry Belafonte, political leaders and African dancers and musicians.
“I used to be called Mr. Sanctions,” Tutu said, referring to his years of advocating embargoes against the former white-minority government in his country. “I now want to be called Mr. Investment.”
He proposed rich countries give African nations a six-month moratorium on debt to help children, build schools and make clean water available.
If after that time a state had used the money for the benefit of its people and had observed human rights, the debt should be forgiven. Otherwise children had no future now and would never cope with the rising debt in the future.
Tutu, the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize winner for his fight against apartheid, also said African states could help by cutting down their armies.
“Far far too frequently they have not been used against external aggression but against their own citizens,” he said.
“Our armies have usually been used to maintain in power those who were not chosen by the people,” he said. It was time many learned that “Freedom is cheaper than repression.”
Tutu, the Anglican Church leader in Cape Town, went out of his way to refute the Vatican on birth control without ever mentioning the Catholic Church by name.
“Planned parenthood is an obligation of those who are Christians,” he told a news conference. “Our church thinks we should use scientific methods that assist in planning of families.”
He said it was far better to have the “children that we want than to say you must have children, no matter what.”
The Vatican has mounted a vociforous campaign against a planned September U.N. population conference in Cairo, arguing that decadent developing countries were foistering their ideologies on poor nations.
It opposes measures in the U.N. draft document calling for women to have more power in deciding the size of their families. Moreover it objects to the fact abortion is not specifically condemned as it was 10 years ago when the United States agreed to anti-abortion planks.
Tutu said he approved of artificial contraception and said abortion was acceptable in a number of situations, such as rape and incest. He specifically welcomed the aims of the Cairo conference.
UNICEF sponsors The Day of the African Child in memory of children in Soweto, massacred by South African police June 16, 1976 for protesting apartheid.