No Surprise: UN Excludes Pro-Life Groups

For the last two days, hundreds of UN-picked international lobby groups have gathered in New York for discussions with the UN General Assembly about the upcoming Millennium Summit +5. Numerous pro-life, pro-family groups applied to participate, but all were rejected by a handpicked panel of the United Nations. As a result, yesterday's sessions consisted of repeated and unopposed calls for more access to abortion and homosexual rights through the Millennium Development Goals.

The UN's "informal interactive hearings" with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are the first of their kind. Ominously to pro-life groups, Deputy Secretary-General Louise Frechette opening remarks called them a "significant new step in the way the United Nations relates to civil society." UN bureaucrats and radical NGOs have sought for years for a way to keep pro-life groups out of UN negotiations but they have largely failed. This new approach has succeeded.

Participating NGOs for this round of negotiations were chosen by a task force under Jean Ping of Gabon, President of the General Assembly. Aside from Ping and his staff, the task force included ten lobby group representatives, including the radical feminist group Women's Environment and Development Organization (WEDO).

WEDO is circulating a document today at the UN which calls for the +5 Summit to "reaffirm that universal access to sexual and reproductive health by 2015 and protection of reproductive rights are critical for achieving the MDGs." Another WEDO pamphlet states that "Right-wing forces everywhere invoke culture and religion to deny women's rights," and blames "cultural and religious fundamentalism" for blocking women's "reproductive health and rights." Terms such as "reproductive rights" are misused at the UN to include abortion.

C-FAM and numerous other pro-family, pro-life groups, most with official UN status, applied to participate in the hearings, but were rejected by the task force. Selected NGOs include the International Planned Parenthood Federation and other pro-abortion groups such as the National Youth Network for Reproductive Rights and Family Care International.

Thursday's sessions saw repeated calls for "universal access to sexual and reproductive health services and a full recognition and protection of reproductive rights," by participants such as the Association for Women's Rights in Development. The Europe Youth Network for Sexual & Reproductive Rights and other groups also called for greater access to abortion for young people.

Several groups also stressed the protection of rights based on "sexual orientation." The representative of MADRE, an Argentine group, stated that gays and lesbians must have their "sexual rights, gender identity and gender expression" protected. "No religion...can be excused for these violations."

The hearings were partially funded by Canada, Finland and Norway.

Source: Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute

HT: John Bambenek




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