- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 18, 2002

UNICEF removed child sex book from use

UNICEF never has and never would encourage "children to engage in sexual activities with other minors and with homosexuals and animals," as you imply in your May 10 front-page story "Child sex book given out at U.N. summit."

Nor does UNICEF support abortion not for children, adults or anyone. We never have and never will. The article makes this allegation in an offhand way, despite the fact that our spokesman explicitly told The Washington Times that UNICEF does not support or promote abortion and does not support it as part of its approach to women's health.

UNICEF is by no means proud of the publication in question, which was a product of the Mexican government but was, indeed, published in part with UNICEF-provided funds. The manual did not and does not stand as a reflection of UNICEF's policies, values or ambitions. As soon as UNICEF became aware of its content, in 1999, we urged that it be removed immediately from use a view the Mexican government shared.

Meanwhile, the U.N. Special Session on Children has made major strides for children's survival, health, education and protection. These concerns are at the heart of UNICEF's work and will remain so.


CAROL BELLAMY

Executive director

UNICEF

New York<

Hague tribunal could spell trouble for former U.S. officials

By explaining that the consequences of the case of Croatian Gen. Ante Gotovina are far more serious for the United States than those of the Slobodan Milosevic case, Op-Ed contributor Jeffrey T. Kuhner revealed something about which official Washington has done much whispering ("A win for American democracy," May 10).

Although the Bush administration has withdrawn from the permanent International Criminal Court (ICC) to protect American foreign policy from international bureaucrats, the United States may yet have problems with the highly politicized and unregulated structure of the temporary International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in the Hague.

Just after Dutch U.N. peacekeeping troops could not prevent 7,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys from being slaughtered by the Bosnian Serb army in Srebrenica in summer 1995, the Clinton administration was intent on using force to stop a much larger massacre of Bosnian Muslims in the city of Bihac. The result was that the United States and its NATO allies provided air power in an unofficial alliance with the Croatian army to reverse the effects of ethnic cleansing by Bosnian Serbs.

In his book "To End a War," former Assistant Secretary of State for European and Canadian Affairs Richard Holbrooke quotes then-Ambassador Robert Frasure saying that the Croats were our "junkyard dogs because we were desperate."

Gen. Gotovina started an offensive known as Operation Storm with the full knowledge of the Clinton administration, and Mr. Holbrooke told the Croatian leadership to halt Gen. Gotovina after Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic had agreed to the principles that eventually led to the signing of the Dayton Peace Accords and an end to the Bosnian war.

Because Predator intelligence drones allowed the Pentagon to monitor every detail of Gen. Gotovina's ground offensive around the clock, it is obvious that war crimes could not have occurred without U.S. knowledge.

Is Gen. Gotovina responsible for war crimes? Probably not. But given the fact that Operation Storm began with at least passive U.S. approval, was conducted under full U.S. surveillance and was halted by the United States when our objectives had been achieved, it would seem that prosecution of Gen. Gotovina in the Hague on grounds of command responsibility would have similar implications for Clinton administration officials.


GEORGE RUDMAN

National president

Croatian-American Association<

India doesn't act like a democracy

In his May 14 Embassy Row column, James Morrison reports that Indian Ambassador Lalit Mansingh is accusing Reps. Dan Burton, Edolphus Towns and Cynthia A. McKinney of spreading "false, hurtful" information about India. This is ludicrous. Mr. Morrison has been sent the proof of the statements that Mr. Mansingh questions, yet he made no apparent effort to get the other side. He should stop repeating Mr. Mansingh's disinformation.

We understand that tyrants are hurt when their crimes are exposed. Yet they do not show any concern for the rights of minorities. Last year, a member of the Indian Cabinet said everyone who lives in India must either be Hindu or be subservient to Hindus. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which was formed in 1925 in support of the fascists and is the parent organization of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, published a booklet on how to implicate Christians and other minorities in fake criminal cases. Yet Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee told an audience in New York City, "I will always be a Swayamsevak." This belies Mr. Mansingh's claim that "[a]ll citizens of India enjoy equal rights and equal protection of law."

Mr. Mansingh might want to explain that to the 250,000 Sikhs who have been murdered by his government. This figure is documented. It was published in "The Politics of Genocide" by Inderjit Singh Jaijee and derived from figures first used by the Punjab State Magistracy, which represents the judiciary of Punjab.

Further, a study by the Movement Against State Repression showed that the Indian government admitted to holding 52,268 Sikh political prisoners under the very repressive so-called Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Act (TADA), which expired in 1995. Amnesty International reported that tens of thousands of other minorities also are being held as political prisoners. Mr. Mansingh undoubtedly is aware of these facts.

Mr. Mansingh is not telling the truth about the massacres in Gujarat. A recent report from Human Rights Watch showed that the massacres were planned in advance. The New York Times reported that the police stood aside while militant Hindu nationalists attacked and murdered Muslims in Gujarat, an act reminiscent of the Delhi massacres of Sikhs in 1984, in which Sikh police were confined to their barracks while the state-run radio and television called for more Sikh blood. According to published reports in India, a police officer in Gujarat said the police were ordered to stand aside.

Mr. Mansingh disputes Miss McKinney's statement that in India, a Hindu life is worth twice as much as a Muslim life. He claims Hindu and Muslim families who were victimized by the Gujarat massacre are receiving equal compensation. Yet according to News India-Times, the Indian government is paying out 200,000 rupees each to the families of Hindus who were killed but just 100,000 rupees to the family of each Muslim killed. Mr. Mansingh knows this, yet he uses his two high-powered lobbying firms to spin disinformation at gullible reporters such as Mr. Morrison.

Despite India's claim to be democratic, Mr. Mansingh rejected the referendum on the status of Kashmir that India promised in 1948, which still has not been held. Despite India's boast that it is democratic and its claim that there is no support for independence in Punjab, Khalistan, he also rejects a free and fair vote on the issue there. He does not even mention the 15 other nations, such as Christian Nagaland, which are seeking their freedom from India. How can a democratic country reject settling issues by a free and fair vote?

Also, Mr. Mansingh does not even address the fact that the U.S. State Department recently put India on its watch list of countries that violate religious freedom.

India is not a democracy; it is a Hindu fundamentalist theocracy. The United States should work for the release of all political prisoners and halt its aid to this repressive, tyrannical state until all people enjoy their God-given human rights. We also should support freedom for all the nations of South Asia through a free and fair vote. That is the only way to bring democracy, peace, freedom and stability to the region.


GURMIT SINGH AULAKH

President

Council of Khalistan

Washington

The insurance industry cries wolf

In your May 11 editorial, "Mississippi malpractice," you fall victim to the propaganda of the insurance industry.

Insurers and doctors are trying to convince people that a rise in malpractice cases is increasing medical malpractice insurance premiums, forcing doctors to leave their practices. Their solution is to punish the victims of malpractice.

The latest figures from the Mississippi Board of Medical Licensure show that as of Oct. 17, 2001, there were 5,786 physicians practicing in Mississippi up from 5,567 the year before. Even in a small county such as Jefferson, the number of doctors rose from four (November 2000) to five (by November 2001).

In reality, the insurance industry is to blame for those high premiums. Insurers, however, would rather blame patients who have had the wrong leg removed or the wrong side of their brain operated on than to admit that they have kept their rates artificially low to increase market share, lost millions of dollars in bad investments or neglected to prepare for economic downturns.

Remarkably, each time the insurance industry suffered major investment losses, there has been a medical malpractice insurance premium "crisis."

Pointing fingers at injured patients will not reduce the cost of medical malpractice insurance, and reducing medical malpractice premiums will not improve the quality of healthcare.

The problem with medical malpractice is that it happens far too often. A relative few "bad apple" doctors are responsible for the bulk of medical malpractice incidents.

The insurance industry can start fixing the malpractice premium problem it created by experience-rating its premiums. Right now, good doctors pay for the bad ones because malpracticing doctors pay the same as good doctors.

Insurers, heal thyselves.


LEO V. BOYLE

President

Association of Trial Lawyers of America

Washington


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