.- Pro-life groups hope that the new executive director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) will bring the organization back to its original values of caring for children’s health, reported the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute. U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman was appointed to the position by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. She begins her five-year term May 1.
Veneman succeeds Carol Bellamy, who led UNICEF into the areas of sex education for children and support for abortion. Under her leadership, UNICEF also supported the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), which provides contraceptives, abortifacients and material support for forced abortions in China.
A leading British medical journal, The Lancet, recently reported that six million children continue to die each year of preventable causes, mostly of malnutrition, even as "cost-effective interventions are available for all major causes of child mortality." The journal effectively blamed these appalling results on “Bellamy's unwillingness to engage with child survival."
Veneman said Jan. 18 that she doesn’t believe reproductive health and education for girls are relevant issues to UNICEF’s mission.
"I don't come with any agenda with regard to those or any other social issues,” she said. "I come with an agenda of helping children, particularly in areas of education and health and to address issues of hunger and malnutrition."
Veneman is the fifth American to be the head of UNICEF. She was nominated for the post by President George Bush. As UNICEF's largest donor, the United States makes the nomination for the spot.