Did Pro-Lifers Harass and Threaten a Kenyan Ambassador?
NEW YORK, March 29 (C-Fam) A senior Kenyan diplomat said she didn’t feel “safe” during the negotiations on a UN agreement about women and social development because of a pro-life online petition addressed to her. Some of her fellow delegates suspect bad faith on her part. The organizers of the petition told the Friday Fax there was a misunderstanding.
Kenyan ambassador Koki Muli Grignon, who acted as vice-chairman of the raucous Commission on the Status of Women, repeatedly complained of being the target of “questioning” and “cyberbullying” as the annual conference came to a close last week. As a result, delegate after delegate denounced cyberbullying and expressed sympathy for Koki Muli Grignon during the final meeting of the commission on Friday.
“I didn’t feel safe… I mean… I wasn’t accosted by anyone. But I felt pushed around,” she said, her tone alternating between tears and nervous laughter. She described being the subject of an online petition and receiving almost 1,000 text messages three days earlier.
“I felt very safe at the UN until I had this questioning,” said Koki Muli Grignon, who has been a diplomat in New York for over six years.
Koki Muli Grignon never charged anyone specifically and was not specific about harassment or threats, but it turns out she was likely the recipient of a petition organized by the pro-life group CitizenGO.
Out of 153,000 signers, roughly 3,000 chose to send the following message to Grignon’s email and phone.
Abortion, sexual orientation and gender identity, and comprehensive sexuality education are controversial topics among most United Nations member states. They are not agreed-upon conclusions. Including this language in international documents is culturally insensitive and impedes the local sovereignty of United Nations member states.
To better help women and girls globally, please remove any mention of Sexual and Reproductive Health, sexual orientation and gender identity, and Comprehensive Sexuality Education from the final report generated at the sixty-third Commission on the Status of Women. Instead, spend your time and resources focusing on initiatives that promote clean water, eradicating hunger and poverty, and maternal health.
Women and girls all over the world will thank you!
A spokesperson for CitizenGO could not confirm if Koki Muli Grignon was complaining about their petition, but they took the precaution nonetheless of halting the automated electronic messages that delivered the petition.
Gregory Merz, who oversees CitizenGo’s efforts at UN conferences, told the Friday Fax they were “very concerned” when they heard reports from the negotiations that Koki Muli Grignon was upset by the petition.
“When we were told that she was overwhelmed, we turned it off. We aren’t in the business of intimidating, threatening or bullying people,” he said.
Mertz also said this is the first time they have received complaints of bullying in many years of using this kind of petition all around the world. He said most people just block the messages once they realize they are the subject of a petition.
He described CitizenGo as an organization dedicated to finding new technologies and creative ways to connect the voices of ordinary people with their representatives in legislatures and international organizations, something UN officials and diplomats call for often.
“We never intended for anyone to feel bullied. Our platform is to facilitate the message. It was never our intention for anyone to feel bullied. We all have a conscience. We are trying to stop the biggest atrocity of all time, which is the abortion of preborn babies,” he said.
He speculated that Koki Muli Grignon’s reaction to the online petition may have been conditioned by the fact that, even with the best of intentions, and even though they are public servants, diplomats, and UN officials are not in fact used to transparency and accountability.
There may have been other messages, aside from those sent through the CitizenGo petition, but the Friday Fax was unable to confirm with Koki Muli Grignon. The Kenyan Mission to the United Nations informed the Friday Fax that Koki Muli Grignon is away from her office until next week and would not be able to respond to questions until she returned.