Thursday, July 07, 2005


US Protests Exclusion of Pro-Life Groups from UN Conference

The Friday Fax has learned that the acting US Ambassador to the United Nations has sent a letter of complaint to the President of the UN General Assembly over the exclusion of conservative NGOs from recent consultations with the UN General Assembly. Sources who have seen the letter say that Ambassador Anne Patterson expresses the US government's strong concerns about a lack of diversity in the consultations since left wing NGOs seem to have been handpicked to make speeches to the General Assembly as Member States prepare for the upcoming Millennium Development Summit.

GA President Jean Ping of Gabon selected the task force that picked over 200 NGOs to take part in "informal interactive hearings" with the General Assembly in preparation for September's Millennium Summit +5. The hearings took place on June 23-24, 2005. The chosen NGOs were able to present their concerns and suggestions regarding the Summit in speeches and open dialogue with countries. Their suggestions were also officially presented to Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who attended the final session of the hearings. Because NGOs will not be able to participate in the actual Summit+5, this was the only opportunity for NGOs to have formal input into the Summit's outcome.

What Member States heard from the handpicked leftwing NGOs was numerous speeches calling for the new Millennium Development Goals to include "reproductive health" and "reproductive rights", UN code words for abortion on demand. Not a single NGO voice of dissent was allowed.

The task force created by Ping to choose the participants consisted primarily of 10 lobby groups, including the radical feminist group Women's Environment and Development Organization (WEDO), which recently condemned "right-wing forces everywhere" for "invok[ing] culture and religion to deny women's rights," including "reproductive health and rights."

The task force failed to select any pro-family, pro-life groups for participation in the hearings, although several such groups, including C-FAM, had applied. However, the task force chose as participants several radical pro-abortion lobbyists such as International Planned Parenthood Federation, National Youth Network for Reproductive Rights, and Family Care International.

The exclusion of pro-family, pro-life groups at the informal hearings has raised particular concern because the hearings were the first such event held at the UN, and appear to be the UN's new favored format for NGO involvement at the UN. Unless future task forces operate in a more unbiased manner, pro-family, pro-life organizations could continue to be systematically blocked from having an impact on UN debates.

The President of the General Assembly has not yet commented on the US complaint.

Copyright 2005 - C-FAM (Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute).

Permission granted for unlimited use. Credit required.

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