10 Aug The UN Lets Down the Youth of the World
August 10, 2011
The UN lets down the youth of the world
“The youth of the world were invited, but not allowed to speak” best characterizes what occurred at the UN High Level Meeting on Youth on July 25-26. United Families International and other pro-family groups showed up with well-trained young adults ready to give input on the problems, and more importantly, ideas for solutions to the problems that confront the youth of the world. They were met with stonewalling, meaningless rhetoric and a not-so-well-disguised attempt to shut them out.
For the last several years, the UN has vigorously promoted the events surrounding the 25th Anniversary of International Year of Youth and the culminating conference held on July 25-26th. Some of the lead-up events, like the one held in Leon, Mexico in the summer of 2010, saw close to 5,000 youth participants attend.
But what our young people found at the culminating event in New York- the much touted event – amounted to little more than a shell of a conference. The UN held the conference because they felt they had to, but it wasn’t really “high-level” – very few heads of state attended – and the plenary and roundtable/panel events were staged so as to not allow input from the young people who had come from around the world.
In the weeks leading up to the conference, United Families International was contacted by the UN agency in charge of the World Youth Conference registration. There was a demand to reduce our number of young people registered or UFI’s registration would be removed from the approved list entirely. The “demand email” came from the UN almost daily until the stated cut-off date of June 22. It read in part:
“Please note that unfortunately due to United Nations security concerns and space constraints, we will need to limit your number of representatives to Five only. We are so sorry for the late notice but we were hoping to have more space. Please login immediately to the system and start removing all the rest and leave only FIVE Participants…”
United Families International and all the other pro-family groups that were targeted on the “reduce or else” email, did comply. We reduced our numbers, and just five young adults were included as part of the UFI team.
Upon arrival at the conference, we were shocked to discover that instead of huge numbers of young people that the UN implied would be attending, the halls and assembly rooms were sparsely filled and the usual security measures, the requirement that individuals obtain and wear a UN photo security badge, were not even followed. The youth came and went with nothing more than small colored pieces of paper to identify them as official attendees.
It was obvious that there were no “security concerns” and no “space constraints,” but there had been a last minute deliberate effort on the part of the UN organizers to keep the youth of the pro-life/pro-family persuasion from attending and giving their input to the process.
Five talented and dedicated young adults paid their way to New York and were prepared to speak on behalf of traditional values and family. They went to speak on behalf of UFI and you. They were not given the chance because the UN set the conference up so that there was no opportunity to give input – not in caucus meetings, not in the plenary, not in roundtables, not to the panel members. Only youth that were pre-selected by the UN agencies were allowed to speak. Again, it was all very carefully staged.
The youth played an important role
Although the conference concluded differently than billed by the UN, the pro-family youths’ attendance there – their very presence – did make a difference. The fact that they were willing to come sent a strong message to the organizers of the conference and to the UN bureaucracy in general that “There are still young people in the world that are committed to the family – and there are lots of them!” That’s why they felt the need to reduce our numbers to just five. I don’t think there was any question that they knew the young people representing UFI and many other youth groups were there to stand up for the family and to speak up for the unborn.
These five young people did learn about the UN and how it functions, they learned more about the pro-family movement and gained some knowledge and tips about how to articulate their positions. There are five young people who now have a better idea of the nature of the battle as well as the characteristics and dogma of the opposition.
We are often asked why one rarely reads anything in the media, about the UN’s tactics, duplicity, and lack of transparency. Our response: The media is complicit in the overall anti-family agenda; they see no problem in what is occurring there. That’s why we depend heavily on you to help us spread the word. By forwarding this and other emails on to your concerned friends and neighbors you help shed a light on the tactics being used to dismantle the family.
Thanks, again, to Faith Goimarac, Ben Davenport, Ashley Tucker, Niels Wankier and Desiree Davenport. We feel so grateful for youth who are preparing themselves to make a difference in the world. We need their energy, intellect, and dedication to values that create and maintain solid families. There is so much work to be done and we thank them for walking a path that helps us secure a future for families.
President, United Families International