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ICPD25 organisers unfazed by demonstrations ahead of summit opening

Conference organisers, the United Nations Population Fund, said that the gathering sought to reflect and address challenges facing communities at a high risk of contracting HIV/Aids, which included gay men and teenage girls.

Volunteers at the International Conference on Population and Development march through Nairobi on 11 November 2019 ahead of the opening of the summit on 12 November 2019. Picture: @NairobiSummit/Twitter

NAIROBI - The International Conference on Population and Development set to commence in Nairobi, Kenya has been marred by violence as protestors demonstrated outside an accreditation centre.

They claimed the conference promoted abortion and homosexuality, which they were against.

Conference organisers, the United Nations Population Fund, said that the gathering sought to reflect and address challenges facing communities at a high risk of contracting HIV/Aids, which included gay men and teenage girls.

They said they had ensured that Monday's incident did not repeat itself.

Kenyan police had to use teargas to disperse demonstrators who were angry at the Conference on Population and Development that commenced in Kenya on Tuesday.

Local media reported that sections of the Kenyan clergy were also opposed to the conference because they said it went against their beliefs.

However, conference organisers said that they would ensure free and fair participation at the conference.

The UNFPA's Dennia Gayle: "We are ready and excited about this. There will always be opposition and what I think you will see with this conference is that they're giving a voice to everyone and I hope that someone will spend some time looking at the programme and you will realise that it has faith-based organisations and they're speaking at panels and organising..."

The conference attracted over 7,000 delegates from 164 countries.

Gayle said that it aimed to reflect on commitments that were made at a landmark conference in 1994 in Cairo, which aimed to place human rights at the centre of development.

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