Opus Dei link alleged over World Bank contraception policy deletion

World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz is being accused of undermining the Bank's commitment to women's health after appointing an El Salvadorian Catholic with alleged links to Opus Dei who reportedly removed all references to contraception in the Bank's Madagascar program.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that El Salvadorean, Juan Jose Daboub, ordered staff to remove all references to family planning from its country assistance program document for Madagascar.

Mr Daboub was appointed by the World Bank president, Paul Wolfowitz, and has been a focus of opposition from Bank staff.

Specific targets relating to contraception were also deleted from the document. The original draft committed the Bank to work to increase contraception uptake from 14 per cent in 2004 to 20 per cent; the final document contained no goal.

In the past, the World Bank has championed the sexual and reproductive rights of women, the Herald says.

Mr Daboub's intervention was revealed through a leaked email from the country program co-ordinator at the Bank, Lilia Burunciuc, who warned that the absence of family planning policies would be a problem because Madagascar had specifically asked for them.

Mr Daboub said yesterday that the Bank's policies had not changed, and Mr Wolfowitz also said there was no change.

According to the British Guardian, Mr Daboub is the former finance minister of El Salvador and a member of the Arena party, which is close to the Catholic church. It is said he is a member of Opus Dei, the report says.

Photo: Juan Jose Daboub (World Bank)

World Bank plan deletes reference to contraception (Sydney Morning Herald, 17/4/07)
Unplanning families (The Guardian, 16/4/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
World Bank
Paul Wolfowitz (Wikipedia)
Juan Jose Daboub (World Bank)

Bertone slams IMF and World Bank "usury" (CathNews, 10/8/06)
Bertone Vatican's new "prime minister" (CathNews, 23/6/06)
Wolfensohn to speak at Vatican Conference (CathNews, 19/1/06)
Pope challenges UN leader to defend human dignity (CathNews, 10/4/00)
Opus Dei politician defends political party branch-stacking (CathNews, 13/5/04)
Ratzinger assistant to head influential Italian diocese (CathNews, 12/12/02)

17 Apr 2007

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