Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Prenatal son selection could have damaging consequences for Viet Nam, other Asian countries, U.N. says

According to a recent study commissioned by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Asian countries may face severe social consequences in the future due to prenatal son selection, the UN News Centre reported Monday.

Viet Nam will face problems similar to India and China, the countries with the greatest imbalance between male and female births, unless response measures are adopted. The study reveals that “Viet Nam is in almost the same situation now as China was 10 years ago,” and that the sex ratio at birth there will be severely imbalanced within a decade.

Many in Asian countries prefer to have sons for economic and cultural reasons. Girls can be seen as a liability when it comes to paying a dowry, and families depend on their sons to perform last rights and ancestor worship.

Ultrasounds and amniocentesis are used to determine the sex of a baby, and unwanted females are sometimes aborted. Potential consequences of prenatal son selection include an increase in sexual violence and female trafficking, as well as pressure on males who will be unable to find wives.

“Sex ratio imbalances only lead to far-reaching imbalances in the society at large,” UNFPA Executive Director Thoraya Ahmed Obaid said. “And in response, we must carry forward the message that every human being is born equal in dignity, worth and human rights.”

For the full article, click here.

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