Monday, May 11, 2009

European Parliament refuses to condemn Papal Statement on HIV/AIDS

Euro-fam report that the European Parliament on Thursday May 7th rejected an amendment tabled by The liberal group (ALDE) to its "Annual Report on Human Rights in the World 2008 and the European Union's policy on the matter (2008/2336 (INI))", which included a scurrilous attack on Pope Benedict XVI.

The amendment which sought to promote abortion through sexual and reproductive health rights to combat AIDS also condemned Pope Benedict's statement about the effectiveness of the use of the condom in the fight against AIDS in Africa: See previous BLOG

The text of the European parliament article with the condemnation follows,
45a. [The European Parliament] Underlines the importance of promoting sexual and reproductive health rights, as a precondition for any successful fight against HIV/AIDS, which causes enormous loss in terms of human lives and economic development, affecting particularly the poorest regions in the world; firmly condemns the recent declarations made by Pope Benedict XVI, banning the use of condoms and warning that condom use could even lead to an increased risk of contagion; is concerned that those statements will severely hamper the fight against HIV/AIDS; points out that empowerment of women also helps to counter HIV/AIDS; calls on the governments of the Member States to act together to promote sexual and reproductive health rights and education, including on the use of condoms as an effective tool in the fight against this scourge;

The amendment was rejected by 253 MEPs to 199. The total vote was only 513 as many MEP's had already left for their constituencies to pursue their re-election campaigns

The Papal statement provoked angry criticism from some countries together with UN officials and anti-family politicians but his views are supported by an increasing number of scientists who have observed an increase in the rate of HIV transmission in countries that emphasize the use of condoms as a protective measure. In contrast the only country that has succeeded in reducing its HIV/AIDS infection rate is Uganda which stressed abstention from sex before marriage and faithfulness within marriage as the two main planks of its prevention strategy.

The Belgian Parliament has already denounced the statement by Pope Benedict and the Spanish Congress is currently considering a similar motion.