Friday, April 06, 2007

Anti-family manipulation of UN treaties exposed


From C-Fam: A newly published article by C-FAM’s Douglas Sylva and Susan Yoshihara in
National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly exposes the frequent manipulation of the United Nations human rights treaty monitoring system by social radicals to establish an international human right to abortion on demand.

Entitled “Rights by Stealth,” the article exposes a complex network of academics, NGOs and collaborators within the UN system who are working in tandem to perpetuate a pattern of misinterpretation of existing human rights to create a new right to abortion.

Sylva and Yoshihara assert that “rather than seeking to sway voters directly, they seek mastery of the complex and little-known inner working of the international human rights system.” The starting point, the authors argue is their claim that “‘reproductive and sexual health rights’ are necessary components of a host of already existing human rights.”

The study begins with a meeting that took place at Glen Cove, NY in 1996 wherein participants from the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), the office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights and select NGOs met to articulate a comprehensive strategy “to determine how the right to abortion-on-demand could be found in universally accepted norms such as the right to life.” Using primary sources from the meeting and other documents, the article shows how the strategy relies on secrecy, undermining national sovereignty, and never admitting publicly the fact that international law does not include a right to abortion.

According to the article, the treaty-monitoring bodies lie at the center of the strategy. By convincing participants in the system that the “treaties are not fixed as negotiated, but rather are living, mutable documents,” those pushing the agenda could attempt re-interpret existing human rights to include a right to abortion. Furthermore, Sylva and Yoshihara explain, these re-interpretations “would be guided not by representatives of governments, but by members of treaty bodies who are not answerable to governments.”

The article argues that the “stealth” strategy has unfolded to an alarming degree, citing numerous instances when treaty body experts have taken sovereign nations to task for having restrictions on access to abortion, despite the fact that none of the human rights treaties mentions abortion. It further argues that Latin America is a primary focus. Just last month the Human Rights Committee, the committee charged with overseeing compliance to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), questioned Chile on its abortion laws.

According to the authors, the current situation seems untenable since it undermines the very human rights system that abortion proponents need to promote their agenda. Like the feminist-human rights movement in general, they note, the strategy is elitist. While well-funded by big foundations and NGOs, it enjoys very little grass roots support, and while it has succeeded in promoting a feminist agenda in rich countries, it has utterly failed to help poor women. The authors offer policy recommendations to help restore legitimacy to the human rights treaty system and “hope of achieving real progress for the women who are most in need of it.”

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Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen