April 17, 2014
From the Desk of Laura Bunker:
Last week, members of United Families International attended a week-long gathering with few protocols, little structure, and no accountability. It was an event where power-games were played all week, then finally on the last day, secret deliberations went on behind closed doors all night long! No, it was not a week at a community youth camp, it was the UN Commission on Population and Development (CPD).
Our UFI team was on the ground in New York, lobbying for pro-family language in the CPD outcome document, and providing much-needed support for the pro-family countries. UFI members also participated via Twitter, trying to offset the flood of anti-family #CPD47 tweets, including:
• “Young people have the right to pleasurable, safe + consensual sexual relationships”
• “Member States must implement comprehensive sexuality education from early childhood”
• “Sexual rights is a basic fundamental right. Make it clear in the document!”
• “Ensure the availability of abortion services for women with unwanted pregnancies”
• “Let’s stop with the hypocrisy. We can’t use religion & culture to control women’s rights!”
Michelle Stone was one of our courageous UFI leaders who attended the CPD last week, and as she reports in today’s eye-opening alert, the drama of the UN negotiation process has reached a new low. We are grateful Michelle and others were there to push back against the tsunami of voices demanding sexual freedom without consequences. We also greatly appreciate your support in this important work!
President, United Families Internationa
By: Michelle Stone
The Commission on Population Development (CPD) in New York last week provided additional evidence that the United Nations may be spiraling into complete lawlessness. The UN has never been a place well known for adhering to specific rules of order or protocols of decorum, but whatever existing structures there are seemed to be thrown out the window as last week’s CPD process deteriorated into complete chaos.
The CPD document was supposed to be a short, non-controversial, procedural document. However, at the beginning of the CPD week, controversial language about abortion rights, comprehensive sexuality education, and sexual orientation/gender identity (SOGI) all appeared in the document. Some delegations were insisting that “sexual and reproductive rights are the most important thing for sustainable development.” Real issues of importance were ignored; for instance, declining populations in many areas of the world, poverty, clean water, sanitation, migration, and real sustainable development. Unfortunately, those demanding sexual freedom without consequences hijacked the process.
The Pacific Island countries, normally very reserved during negotiations and usually pro-family, suddenly were very outspoken in their surprisingly anti-family/anti-life positions. We determined that United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) had spent much time courting the ministries of Pacific Island countries where they were able to find someone who sympathized with their position. UNFPA then paid for these government officials to travel to New York where they continued their indoctrination of the UNFPA “sexual rights” and anti-family agenda.
These ministers were then able to position themselves on their respective country’s delegation. Each of these delegates then represented UNFPA’s position – often in direct contradiction to the existing laws of their own nation. UFI representatives had an interesting experience on the first evening of CPD as we overheard the conversations of these delegates from some Pacific Island nations as they plotted their strategy to take control of the negotiations.
Outside of Negotiations
Additional evidence of UNFPA’s demands on countries in exchange for funding was demonstrated during side events. Pakistan hosted a side event where the panelists completely ignored the audience as they turned their bodies and reported directly to UNFPA about how they had been successful in reducing their country’s population and how they were working to weaken existing laws against abortion. The side-event seemed a charade contrived to impress UNFPA in an effort to obtain funding. Culturally, Pakistan is a traditional country with relatively strict abortion laws. Yet, Pakistan representatives were touting their abortion successes in order to get increased aid for their country, which of course includes more funding for abortion.
As the Week Progressed
It became clear that most UN rules were being tossed aside or ignored. The expected short, procedural text never materialized and delegations were left with an alternate document filled with pro-abortion/anti-family language. In addition, instead of negotiating the text as delegations normally do, countries repeatedly added their “wish list” of language to be included in the document. The chairman/Facilitator would then cherry pick the things he liked and put out a “new” text.
At one point the chairman appeared to be stalling the negotiations. We assumed that he planned to put out a final text on Friday with no time left to negotiate, and delegations would have to agree to the chair’s text or face charges that they were trying to subvert a final document. It was gratifying to see the African and Arab nations stand up to him. The final negotiations ended up happening in the middle of Friday night and Saturdaymorning, behind closed doors, with approximately six Ambassadors in attendance. They made everyone wait all night long as this group debated and the chairman finally emerged with a text around 5:00 a.m. Saturday morning. The chairman declared that it was consensus, despite the fact that most nations had not been allowed to participate. All were furious.
Despite the fact that we were outnumbered, out maneuvered, and out spent by our opposition, the pro-family countries, particularly the African and Arab groups, stood strong.
There were some major wins in the text:
1. The pro-family allies were able to keep a reference to “sexual rights” (which includes abortion) out of the document. “Sexual and reproductive rights” language would put pressure on countries to liberalize their abortion laws.
2. National sovereignty language was retained in the document. This is important because countries can then defer to their national laws and ignore the bad language coming out of the UN.
3. No references to sexual orientation/gender identity were included in the text.
Considering the extreme pressure put on pro-family countries by the UNFPA and so-called “progressive” western countries, these accomplishments were gratifying.
Some not-so-good things in the text:
1. No good language clarifying “the family” being the fundamental unit of society, nor the necessity of family to sustainable development was retained in the text. It was remarkable how adversarial the “progressive” delegations were to any inclusion of family language.
2. Two different paragraphs contain language on “comprehensive sexuality education” with only one paragraph including a very weak and ineffective reference to parental rights. “Comprehensive sexuality education” promotes to children as young as five the free expression of various forms of sex, breaks down existing stigma and social barriers to deviant sexual behavior, promotes birth control and abortion, all the while training children to become “sexual rights” advocates.
One of the African Ambassadors we met with put the entire process into perspective. In his war torn country, families are being scattered by gunmen who come into villages and start shooting. Those who survive run and have no way of finding their families again. These are some of the real issues of the world that the UN should be addressing. To this Ambassador, the family is of the utmost importance; it is the foundation of society and needs to be protected at all costs. He is a new Ambassador who could not understand why so many were trying to push “sexual rights” including “homosexual rights” onto traditional cultures. He was correct in stating that the UN should confine their attention and their funding to helping reduce poverty, promoting aid for real development, and protecting people during times of war.
The best quote of the week was, “The only time hunger is discussed during the UN Commission on Population and Development is at the sexual rights activists’ buffet.” This is where during negotiations, anti-family forces fed the delegates, conveniently, both food and language for the documents. Fortunately, there are still some countries in the world that will not sell out their core values to the UN funding agencies. Those countries know that UFI and our allies are there to help and support them, and we are grateful for their courage to stand firm!
Michelle Stone is pursuing education in Political Science and has a degree in Marriage and Family Studies. She has worked with UFI for 14 years and is the former director of “Stay Alive” – a highly successful HIV/AIDS prevention program. She and her husband are the parents of five boys.