Egypt to tackle overpopulation with ‘2 children only’ plan

Cairo is one of the most dense cities in the world. (Reuters)
Updated 19 October 2017
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Egypt to tackle overpopulation with ‘2 children only’ plan

CAIRO: Egypt’s government announced this week the implementation of a plan to control the nation’s booming population rate under a campaign called “Egypt development: Two children only.”
Health Minister Ahmed Emad Eddin met this week with Egypt’s governors to announce the plan to control population growth in each province, while studying the demographic situation of each governorate and possible mechanisms for birth control.
Fighting illiteracy, unemployment and poverty were discussed as ways to tackle the population boom.
The plan as yet does not mention applying a strict child-control policy that would stop families from having more than two children, as the name of the campaign suggests.
“Contraception is the last thing we can rely on in the population strategy,” El-Masry El-Youm newspaper quoted Emad Eddin as saying.
“In the beginning, it is necessary to eliminate the dropout in education to prevent early marriage and employ females.”
He stressed the significant role religious institutions in Egypt could play by spreading awareness of the population crisis. “Either the population increase continues to destroy Egypt or the crisis is solved,” he said.
Local Development Minister Hisham El-Sherif said population control is tied to solving Egypt’s high illiteracy rates, unemployment levels and poverty.
Egypt’s population is increasing by 2.04 million people annually, he said, adding that the country would need 20,000 nurseries in the coming three years, and half a million homes in 22 years, if population growth levels remain the same.
Consecutive governments have announced initiatives to control the population boom. The campaign’s name has raised eyebrows about whether Egypt is on the verge of applying a strict two-child policy. Such a policy has been raised by lawmakers several times.
Population expert Ayman Zohry said this campaign, like previous ones, calls for limiting the number of children per family.
“The government is appealing to Egyptians to abide by family planning, but there are no clear restrictions to be implemented on having more than two children,” he told Arab News.
Attempts to force parents not to have more children are unlikely to work in Egypt, and “negative incentives” would not succeed, Zohry said.
“The government adopts a method of preaching national responsibility by telling parents that they should abide by family planning. But education remains key to containing a population boom,” he added.
“It’s with education that families will understand… the responsibilities associated with raising a child, sending them to school and fulfilling their needs.”
Education will also help families, especially those in rural areas, understand that family planning is not forbidden by religion, Zohry added.


Canada to resettle group of Syrian White Helmets

Updated 20 October 2018
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Canada to resettle group of Syrian White Helmets

  • Canada has supported the work of the White Helmets by helping them to expand, train more volunteers, train more women and save more lives
  • Jordan said a group of 279 Syrian rescue workers has left the kingdom for resettlement in Western countries

OTTAWA: Canada is preparing to welcome a group of Syrian White Helmets rescuers, officials said on Friday, without specifying when they will be resettled.
“Together with a core group of international allies, Canada is working to resettle a group of White Helmets and their families after they had to flee Syria as a result of being specifically targeted by the Syrian regime and its backer, Russia,” Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland and Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, said in a joint statement.
“As first responders, the White Helmets have witnessed first-hand some of the most appalling crimes committed by the murderous Assad regime. Canada has supported the work of the White Helmets by helping them to expand, train more volunteers, train more women and save more lives,” they said, referring to Syrian President Bashar Assad.
In July, following the evacuation of 400 White Helmets from Syria to Israel and then to Jordan, Canada announced that it was ready to accommodate 50 of them and their families, for a potential total of 250 people.
Jordan said Wednesday a group of 279 Syrian rescue workers has left the kingdom for resettlement in Western countries.
Founded in 2013, the Syrian Civil Defense, or White Helmets, is a network of first responders who rescue wounded in the aftermath of air strikes, shelling or blasts in rebel-held territory.