Tag archives: United Nations

Trampling on the UN’s Noble Heritage

by Travis Weber, J.D., LL.M.

June 9, 2014

On October 24, 1945, the nations of the world rose from the ashes of the Holocaust to come together in the United Nations, in part to ensure that individual human rights were protected across national borders in the face of tyrannical governments, and that such genocide as had been perpetrated by the Nazis would not happen again. Coming out of the Holocaust, the United Nations and its treaty and human rights framework naturally focused heavily on the freedom of the individual to their religion and political activity. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Genocide Convention, and later the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights all focused on the individual and the individual’s civil liberties — a focus which has served as the building block for Western Civilization’s rich cultural heritage and its prosperous economies.

The United States was a leader in many of these developments. Yet in 2014, the United States finds itself in the position of having nominated an individual to be its representative to the UN’s Committee Against Torture — Felice Gaer — who openly tramples on the very rights on which the United Nations was founded. Ms. Gaer recently told the Holy See’s UN representative reporting on Vatican compliance with the Torture Convention that the Holy See was coming dangerously close to committing torture merely through its positions on abortion. Much of this was apparently driven by the Center for Reproductive Rights, which sent a letter — itself misrepresenting basic principles of international law in furtherance of its own agenda — to the UN committee overseeing implementation of Torture Convention. The flawed reasoning of this letter was then propagated upon the international scene via the Committee Against Torture.

Ms. Gaer previously served as the chair of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, in which capacity she said that “the right [to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion] includes the freedom of every person to hold, or not to hold, any religion or belief, and to manifest his or her religion or belief either individually or in community with others.” She appears to now be directly contradicting her own views in her statement to the Holy See. More likely, she is losing a sense of proportion and reality. Representatives to such UN committees are supposed to objectively monitor country compliance with the treaties signed by those countries, in accordance with the plain meaning of the treaty, while respecting countries’ declarations and reservations — and NOT take words with an obvious meaning, twist them into something nonsensical, and ramrod them down a signatory country’s throat, all while demonstrating a blatant disregard for a country’s reservations and express conditions for its submission to a treaty’s authority.

Thankfully, the Vatican has struck back, noting that contrary to the view that regulation of abortion could constitute “torture,” the practice of late-term abortion is a much more obvious example of torture. In addition, several UN committee members have clarified they hold a more reasoned position than Ms. Gaer. Nevertheless, it’s troubling that the U.S. representative’s extreme views are being moderated by non-U.S. representatives to the committee. The United States has historically held a very grounded position with regard to international human rights. Though it has already shown cracks and signs of change, Ms. Gaer should not be permitted to further smear that position on the world stage.

UN, Please Note that Abortion is not Maternal Health Care

by Arina Grossu

April 14, 2014

The UN Commission on Population and Development held its annual meeting last week. Wendy Wright (C-FAM) delivered a statement jointly submitted by the Family Research Council, C-FAM and the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG).

We must continue to hold the U.N. accountable for keeping maternal health as the priority in the agenda and not conflating it with abortion services. Here are some excerpts:

Now better than ever before, we know what it takes to make pregnancy and childbirth safe for mothers. It takes investment in education, skilled birth attendants, prenatal and antenatal care, clean water and sanitation, adequate nutrition and vitamins, antibiotics and other healing medicines, and emergency obstetric care.

Making abortion legal doesn’t improve maternal health in any way.

Maternal health care strives to make pregnancy safer for both mothers and their unborn children. Preventing births by aborting the unborn child, or preventing the human embryo from implanting in the mother’s womb does not improve the health of the mother or her unborn child.

We know what it takes to make pregnancy and childbirth safe. Maternal health care, must remain a distinct and urgent priority in the post-2015 development agenda. This cannot be confused with elective abortion, which destroys the life of innocent unborn children and places the lives of mothers in jeopardy.”

Let’s work on real solutions to improve maternal health care around the world. Abortion is not the answer.

Former U.N. Ambassador Yoram Ettinger: ‘The deal with Iran and P5+1 Subordinates Reality to Wishful Thinking’

by Bethany Brock

December 3, 2013

Former United Nations Ambassador Yoram Ettinger appeared on yesterday’s edition of “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins” to discuss the recent negotiations between Iran and the United Nations Security Council (P5+1) about Iran’s nuclear program.

The deal with Iran and P5+1 subordinates reality to wishful thinking. We are talking about an agreement with Iran at a time when the regime in Iran does not show any sense of compliance with agreements on the domestic front, or on the regional front,” Ettinger said. “In fact, together with North Korea, Iran is the world leader in the violation of human rights, but we are told that when it comes to agreements, that they are supposed to comply.”

The former U.N. ambassador pointed out, “While Western societies seek agreements in order to solidify a peaceful coexistence, rogue regimes with imperialistic inspirations, like the regime in Iran, view this agreement as a tactical step in order to overcome the partner to the agreement. And this has been demonstrated again and again in the Middle East by Iran, by the other regimes, but it has been overlooked by the U.S. negotiators because they are so anxious to reach an agreement.”

Ettinger explained that the regime in Iran is led by “a spiritual leader who is known for his anti-American position. Worse than that, he is known for his art of diplomacy and art of misleading people, which is the need to mislead the infidel in order to advance the goals of Islam.”

This Iranian nuclear agreement is taking place with a regime that for the last 30 years has been subjected to various sanctions, but has not abated its pursuit of nuclear power. Ettinger said, “The question is, why would the same methodology – which hasn’t left a dent on the attempt of Iran to become nuclear – why is the same methodology – which didn’t yield anything for 30 years – supposed to yield something constructive in the next few months?”

According to Ettinger, the negotiations with Iran are “a combination of gullibility, probably an ignorance of what the Middle East is all about, as well as an eagerness to strike a deal because don’t we all know that peace is better than war?”

Ettinger summarized, “Some people have forgotten that if you want to prevent a war with a rogue regime, you’d better be equipped with a very substantial posture of deterrence, because reflecting complacency and reflecting estuation in the face of regimes invites war; [it] does not postpone war.”

Click here to listen to the entire interview.

The Devil is in the (Demographic) Details

by Family Research Council

August 5, 2011

Despite critiques of the U.N.s world population predictions, a recent Wall Street Journal article by Jonathan Last could have gone even further in pointing out how bleak the developed worlds demographic picture is.

This past May, the U.N. released its latest report on world demographics, saying that Italy, Poland, and the European Continent as a whole, have rosy demographic futures. Last correctly takes issue with these predictions saying that in order for the world to actually achieve the U.N.s projected numbers, one big assumption had to be made, that starting tomorrow, every country in the world with fertility below the replacement rate of 2.1 will increase its fertility. And this rise will continue unabated, year after year, until every First World country has a Total Fertility Rate (TFR) near replacement.

Mr. Last reasons that this projection is dubious, in part because the U.N.s model was based on data taken from a small group of mostly Scandinavian countries that have recovered (sort of) from sub replacement fertility. Last highlights Sweden, saying that its story is a complicated one, involving pro-natalist policies, culture and not a little luck, though somehow, the U.N. now assumes that all low-fertility, industrialized countries from Russia to Italy to South Korea will follow this same pattern.

While Last does highlight the dubious nature of the U.N.s projections, he has not gone far enough in emphasizing exactly how incorrect they are. His suspicion was correct that other countries will not necessarily follow Scandinavias supposed trend. Though it (reportedly) experienced positive fertility results, even if Swedens success were based on culture and policies, these are not universal. However, the fact of the matter is that any projection made based off the success of these countries will be incorrect.

Focusing on Sweden, the story of their fertility rates must be nuanced to differentiate between the fertility of nationals and the fertility of foreigners (immigrants). According to the Vienna Institute of Demographics, from 1986-2008, the increase in the total fertility rate of Swedens nationals went from 1.76 to 1.85, a difference that is statistically insignificant, and is actually because the dip to 1.76 in 1986 was a TFR underestimate! The total fertility rate of foreigners ranged from 2.24 (1986) to 2.55 (2008)a range that is above both the replacement level, as well as the level of Swedish nationals. Any increase in Swedish fertility levels must be understood with this division in mind, with the result that Sweden would not experience population increases of its young for any reason other than immigration. This casts the U.N.s model into question, as immigration is not a true account for the increase in a countrys fertility. Furthermore, immigration depends strongly on (relative) economic factors, something that varies between countries and is difficult to predict.

Additionally, we all know that Rome was not built in a dayit takes around 20 years before our newborns are ready to enter society as adults, and cultures change about as fast. Why then should the U.N. anticipate that Italy, Poland, Japan or any country would change over night? There is no reason to suspect that we will see a drastic positive change in the fertility habits of individuals and thus, nations any time soon. On the contrary, anti-natal trends are alive and well in the West, cultures are spawning no-kids-allowed movements: Malaysia airlines banned babies from many of their first-class cabins; McDains Restaurant, in Pennsylvania no longer allows children under 6 to dine; Double Windsor bar in New York bans babies after 5 p.m.; a Central Florida homeowners association is considering a ban on children from playing outside, and the examples continue. All of this is strong indication that the trend were seeing, and one modeled by more serious demographers than those at the U.N., is here to stay.

We are still slouching into a demographic crisis, and Last is right to highlight economic concerns that will spin off from low fertility rates.

Abortion, the United Nations, and CEDAW

by Family Research Council

March 15, 2010

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend part of the 54th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) at the United Nations in New York. The CSW is a UN body with power for global policy-making on issues related to women and gender. Every year delegates from member states meet at UN headquarters in NY to evaluate progress and draft policies to promote women and gender equality. The question of abortion is always hotly debated and presented in a variety of creative forms from anti-life advocates.

With the memory still fresh from my first CSW (five years ago) I was much encouraged this year with the number of pro-life lobbyists present. Most lobbyists fell into two categories: generous college students on Spring Break or fed up pro-life moms from the Midwest! Both groups made their presence felt; there was no question that they were a viable force. There were also a significant number of pro-life, pro-family side-sessions, with speakers including Miriam Grossman and Pam Stencil, as well as researchers, MDs, and ObGyns. In particular, one session about the importance of motherhood was attended by approximately 500 persons.

Unfortunately, though not surprisingly, representatives of the Obama Administration werent tuned into the pro-life U.S. citizens present (you know, the American people whom they represent). They were more concerned about advocating for things like the Convention to Eliminate Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Ratification, among other things.

CEDAW is a womens rights international agreement of the UN that was first adopted in 1979. Worthy of mention is the fact that this agreement would also advance such policy areas as abortion rights; same-sex marriage; legalization of prostitution; gender re-education; and would negate parental rights. Out of 192 member countries, the U.S. is one of eight not to ratify; ratification would require 67 senators to vote affirmatively.

Despite efforts from previous Democrat Administrations, proponents have not been successful in achieving ratification. But the Obama Administration is actively working to change that. In her remarks to the CSW, Secretary Clinton named CEDAW ratification as a major priority for the Obama Administration. Karen Richardson, Senior Advisor on International Organizations to State Department Ambassador for the Global Womens Issues Bureau Melanne Verveer, spoke at a number of CSW workshops and affirmed that the Obama Administration and in particular Amb. Verveer are working actively with the Hill to ratify CEDAW.

Interestingly, Secretary Clinton also noted in her remarks to the CSW the recent issue article on Gendercide in The Economist, noting that sex selection abortion has left the world with 100 million fewer girls than it should have. While I appreciated the fact the Secretary noted this tragedy in her remarks, I only wish she would make the necessary connection between the abortion rights she so aggressively advocates and the societal ramifications that follow, such as this appalling gendercide reality. Abortion never has been —- and never will be good for women.