European foreign affairs minister says aid to Nicaragua will only come with changing of abortion law


The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation for the Netherlands, Bert Koenders, has announced that his country and the European Union will allow future economic assistance to Nicaragua on the condition that the country reverses its decision to ban “therapeutic” abortion.

Koenders said he if fighting for the UN and his colleagues in the European Union to “put women's rights higher on the agenda,” and announced he would consider canceling aid to countries in which abortion is still illegal.

"Even if an abortion is medically necessary, it still remains illegal in Nicaragua, which results in the death of women. We should emphasize that this is completely unacceptable,” Koenders told the Dutch Platform of Millennium Goals.

"I do not want to immediately cancel our aid to Nicaragua, but we certainly will weigh the matter."

Koenders says all UN-organizations should equally focus on “women's rights,” mainly legal abortion, since the inequality problems between the sexes are diverse. “Furthermore, UN peace missions should more often focus on sexual violence against women in wartime,” he added.

On October 26, 2006, the national Parliament of Nicaragua unanimously modified its penal code in order to limit abortions, to protect unborn children and their mothers. Since then, Nicaragua’s Parliament has been the subject of increasing pressure from the European Union to reverse the decision.

Following instructions given by Mrs. Ferrero-Waldner, EU Commissioner for foreign affairs, Nicaragua had been strongly pressured by donor countries, UN agencies, as well as by the European Commission Ambassador to Nicaragua, Italian-born Francesca Mosca.