Amnesty Fires, UN Hires Divisive Activist

By | February 4, 2016
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NEW YORK, February 5 (C-Fam) An official who left Amnesty International mired in scandals has been appointed the second highest position at the UN’s human rights office.

Kate Gilmore led Amnesty’s advocacy for abortion, a costly move for the human rights organization as throngs of members resigned in protest. She was later fired, thrusting the charity into turmoil over a “seriously excessive” payout of more than $616,000 to get her to leave. Amnesty’s chairman called the windfall the “least worst option” to compel her to go.

Amnesty’s switch in 2006 from neutrality to backing abortion, including partial-birth abortions, was made without consulting their members. Gilmore was Executive Deputy Secretary General and responsible for “leading innovations in human rights policy.”

“Many AI supporters may be alienated not only by the substance of the proposed policy but also by the un-open fashion in which the new policy is being debated,” wrote Richard Stith, a law professor, in an open letter to Amnesty’s members at that time.

“Such a right might benefit powerful elites, but it would harm many of our most vulnerable sisters in the developing world,” Stith wrote. “It would clash head-on with the recognized human right to life of the unborn, and even with Amnesty’s own foundation in universal human rights.”

Gilmore left Amnesty in 2009. Two years later, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) hired her as Deputy Executive Director, where she organized activists to pressure countries to expand abortion and sexual rights.

She characterized UNFPA as “infecting international norms for sexual and reproductive health.” A “resilient person,” Gilmore defined in a speech to struggling Pacific Islanders, is “upheld in their physical and mental integrity through fulfillment of their sexual and reproductive health and rights.”

Diplomats complained that UNFPA harassed countries to liberalize laws on issues like prostitution. When a diplomat explained that her country could not accept UNFPA’s demands, Gilmore cut her off. Another diplomat asked for a dialogue between countries and UNFPA. Gilmore did not agree to meet.

African delegates noted unprecedented pressure from UNFPA directly on their governments, especially regarding comprehensive sex education which promotes sexual activity to children as young as five.

Last month Gilmore lamented that surveys asking people about their and their partners’ use of contraception do not include children as young as ten. She blamed parents, calling parental rights a “chimera” or imaginary monster. Parental rights are universally recognized as human rights, and upheld in UN treaties.

That same month, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon appointed Gilmore as Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Gilmore joins an office rocked by scandal over its inaction and obstructing investigations of sex crimes against children, even as it prioritizes advocacy for sexual rights. She replaces Flavia Pansieri, who resigned amidst criticism for not acting on accusations of French peacekeepers sexually abusing boys as young as 9 in the Central African Republic. Pansieri was distracted by budget issues, she said.

Despite complaints of lack of funding for human rights work, the Geneva-based office launched a publicity campaign for homosexual and transgender rights with slick music videos, and issues reports meant to embarrass countries with conventional views on males and females.

A Kenyan religious leader noted, “Those people who have already ruined their society . . . let them not become our teachers.”