April 12, 2012
“An Unfortunate First”
They’re mad! Yes, they’re really mad. So mad that over the last few weeks they’ve been collecting signatures on a statement that they’re going to present to “UN Member States, CSW and other relevant UN human rights and development entities.” They’ve been busy sending out emails full of passionate pleas to not “put on hold the advancement of women’s rights… to reject attempts to invoke traditional values or morals which infringe upon human rights guaranteed by international law.”
So who’s so mad and what about?
The “they” is our radical feminist opponents and their allies *who gather at the UN and they’re mad about the outcome of the 2012 Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). In short, they’re “outraged” that conservative, pro-family countries of the world held their ground and refused to accept the language of social engineering, promotion of abortion, and sexual rights for children. They’re “outraged” that pro-family organizations and their allies were pushing for positive language regarding the right to life, parental rights and the importance of sexual fidelity and abstinence in stopping the HIV/AIDs epidemic.
Because of the extreme disagreement between the two opposing world views, two of three CSW resolutions did not reach consensus – which means they failed – upsetting not a few UN bureaucrats and international leftists. They’re calling it “an unfortunate first” – the first time there have not been “Agreed Conclusions” at CSW.
United Families International was there at the UN and an instrumental part of the effort to provide negotiating language and encouragement and support to the vastly outnumbered pro-family country delegations. You may remember our CSW report back in March where we gave you some of the specifics of what occurred and celebrated some victories and acknowledging that, in spite of our best efforts, we aren’t successful every time.
When the below email, sent out by those who oppose our efforts at the UN,* came into our inbox last week we thought it important to share it with you because it provides a glimpse into what UFI and the pro-family coalition deals with at these UN meetings. It also shows, clearly, the great divide in ideology between those who support the traditional family and values and those who view the world through a feminist/leftist lens. We have included the email in its entirety with some of our commentary, in red, mixed in.
Here’s the text of the opposition’s email blast:
For the first time in its history, the 56th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)–a key global policy-making body dedicated to gender equality and the promotion of women’s rights–ended with no Agreed Conclusions. Not since Beijing (4th World Conference on Women in 1995) has there been such a stalemate between women’s rights advocates and ultra-conservative forces. Once more, culture and tradition were invoked to stall progress on critical women’s rights issues and provoke a political deadlock. Fundamentalist forces see this impasse as a great “pro-family” victory.
(Your views regarding the importance of the natural family and traditional values are viewed as “fundamentalist”- ie. religious “fundamentalist.”)
The African Group, the OIC [Organization of Islamic Conference], the Holy See [representatives of the Catholic Church], CARICOM [Caribbean Community] and several states worked in various combinations to explicitly block progress on several key issues, including opposition to already agreed upon language in international texts, such as removing the term traditional from “harmful traditional practices”, lobbying to change “early and forced marriages” to the more ambiguous “child marriage”, and replacing “gender equality” with “equality between men and women” to refute the existence of any other genders.
(Our opponents are aghast that we would believe that there are just two genders – male and female and wanted that clarified in the draft resolution. Are you wondering what “other genders” they might be referring to?)
The most conservative blocs also sought to advance “parental rights” and deny the right to comprehensive sexuality education and “reproductive rights and sexual health” as human rights. The Holy See once more insisted that the terms “sexual and reproductive health” and “reproductive rights” should exclude abortion and abortion services. They also refused to endorse contraception or condom-use for family planning or preventing HIV/AIDS and other STDs, or support sexuality education stating that:
“The advancement of an agenda which promotes ‘sex education’ and artificial contraception to children, and completely disregards their parent’s [sic] involvement, is antithetical to the role of the state which has the responsibility to promote the common good of the family and society.”
(Yes, we do push for parental rights language and believe that parents should have a say in their children’s sex education and we absolutely do not support the early sexualization of children that is part and parcel of “Comprehensive Sex Education.” Nor do we believe that contraception and family planning initiatives were necessary language in a resolution whose goal was to battle the HIV/AIDs epidemic.)
In a joint statement, Say NO to safeguarding “traditional values” over women’s human rights!, women’s rights organizations have expressed their outrage with the end result of the 56th CSW. The statement calls on governments not to put on hold the advancements of women’s rights because of political battles between states; says no to re-opening negotiations on already established international agreements on women’s human rights; and calls on governments to promote, protect and fulfill the human rights and fundamental freedoms of women and reject attempts to invoke traditional values or morals which infringe upon human rights guaranteed by international law.
They urged governments to ensure that the health and human rights of girls and women are secured and reaffirmed at the upcoming Commission on Population and Development and the International Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20).
[These organizations are afraid that UFI and the pro-family coalition will be successful, again, at the upcoming UN conferences, and they are trying to line up support to stop us.]
United Families International is proud and grateful that our efforts to stop the anti-family language were successful. Our goal is to stop anti-family language from becoming entrenched in international documents and then trickling down into domestic law around the world. Although we don’t appreciate being cast in the role of an obstructionist and “abusers of women and their rights,” we trust that individuals will see the rhetoric for what it is – our opposition’s desperate attempt to justify their failed agenda and to vilify anyone who gets in their way.
The battle to promote law and language that protects women and families really is relentless. But so is our determination to do so! We will not quit fighting. UFI will continue to be there to give support and encouragement to those courageous countries that recognize that the traditional family is the solution for the myriad of problems that plague the world. Thank you for supporting this great cause and for creating and promoting strong traditional families in your community!
President, United Families International
*Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD), Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID), International Women’s Heath Coalition (IWHC), International Women’s Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific (IWRAW ASIA PACIFIC). The delegations of U.S., Norway, Canada, E.U. – to mention a few.