UNGA71 Third Committee Redux

By Stefano Gennarini, J.D. | November 23, 2016

The third committee of the General Assembly has completed its work, acting on 56 draft proposals. The resolutions will be formally adopted by the General Assembly in the second week of December. Below are some pro-life and pro-family highlights from the final two week of voting.

LGBT Rights: To be or not to be?

The big story of this General Assembly is still the Report of the Human Rights Council. The African Group, as would be expected, challenged the Human Rights Council decision in June to create a special procedure for LGBT rights. Their proposal failed by a vote of 84 to 77, with 17 abstentions. But 18 of the states that voted against the African proposal or abstained have sodomy laws. It is a fair prediction that when the report is dealt with in the General Assembly plenary, and the African proposal comes back on the table, the mandate will be suspended. If the mandate is quashed, it would undo Obama’s legacy at the United Nations. If it is not we can expect OHCHR and the Independent Expert to not be able to restrain themselves from making eccentric claims.

In another huge development on this issue at the United Nations, the General Assembly adopted the second ever resolution on “Bullying.” That’s right. You are not hallucinating. You read that right. Apparently it is a monumental problem that is slowing down the global economy. No joke. That is what the Secretary General wrote in his report on Bullying, based in part on a glossy $300,000 UNESCO report (really!) on bullying on the basis of LGBT funded by the Netherlands that is intended to model the kind of approach to bullying that Scandinavian and European international bureaucrats will be bringing to a school near you very soon.

Needless to say, this whole initiative has everything to with promoting social acceptance of homosexuality in schools around the world, and nothing to do with the education, health and wellbeing of children. The proof is the fact the Netherlands never paid any money at all for a similar report on bullying on the basis of physical appearance, religion, race, or any other reason. Sadly, the resolution passed. Even though there is not a single mentions of “sexual orientation and gender identity” in it, it calls for UN systemwide programing on bullying. So get ready. A UN backed anti-bullying counsellor is coming to your kids school sometime very soon. Make no mistake. His/her main focus will be to promote homosexuality.

Comprehensive Sexual Education: Is it Dead?

Comprehensive sexuality education is dead, at least this year. The General Assembly adopted a resolution on the rights of the child this year, without “comprehensive sexuality education.” The terminology first made it into the resolution sponsored by the European Union and GRULAC two years ago. The Africans made strong objections, alongside traditionally minded countries. Last year the inclusion of the term led to a vote on the resolution for the first time, and roughly 50 countries abstained from voting on the resolution altogether. This year we kept CSE out altogether after it was included in early drafts discussed by the sponsors. We have CARICOM and moderate Europeans to thank for this.

Maternal Health: African Smackdown

The bi-annual resolution of the General Assembly on Obstetric Fistula was once again the battleground for developing countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, to insist that wealthy countries scale up maternal health for their mothers and children. Sadly, many donor countries see maternal health as little more than a pretext to promote family planning and direct funding for abortion groups, as well as promote CSE and homosexuality.

European and Latin American countries complained the resolution this year did not address sexual autonomy or include CSE, calling the notion of “age-appropriate sex education” that the Africans insisted upon “unnecessarily restrictive.”

A Senegalese delegate speaking on behalf of the African Group who sponsored the resolution delivered clever and biting remarks rebuking donor states when the resolution was adopted. After suffering patiently as the Europeans and Latins licked their wounds she tied the realization of human rights to “self-sacrifice” alluding to the need for donor countries to increase funding for maternal health. She also shut the door to CSE again. Hard.

She said African countries were not against “sex education” but simply insisted on the need to respect “age appropriateness” and “cultural context” adding that Africa would remain “vigilant on UN terminology that is unclear and sensitive.”

Sexual and Reproductive Health: Stale Mate

There used to be a time not too far back Under the Bush Administration that the term “sexual and reproductive health” was virtually absent from General Assembly resolutions. The term was so controversial that it was simply defeated in negotiation after negotiation. From 1995 until 2012 it was nearly impossible for abortion supporters to get this terminology in resolutions at all, and especially without defining what was meant by the term through qualifiers referring back to the 1994 Cairo Agreement on Population and Development, which excluded an international right to abortion and cast abortion in a bad light.

Years of work by Obama administration have changed this. Browsing the resolutions of the world body one notices a dramatic increase of the use of this and related terminology, even without qualifiers in the last 3 years. It has proliferated across many resolutions, and it is almost unthinkable to keep it out. This final GA under his watch was no exception. Even though there were no real normative gains for the abortion peddling groups driving this agenda—abortion is still not an international right—the proliferation of this term has reached unprecedented prominence.

Sadly, once more traditional countries agreed to include references to “sexual and reproductive health” without qualifiers in a handful of resolutions, while including the qualifiers only a couple of times. While some references are in contexts that limit what can come under these terms, it is increasingly important to refer to past agreements to preserve the status quo, since these terms have become conduits of an extreme sexual left agenda.

The Family Defended

After the resolution on the family was scuttled last year because of Latin American countries, this year the G77 put forward a quite excellent resolution on the family and were able to get it through the 3rd committee without a vote, even though it does not include the terminology “various forms of the family.” Sadly, the resolution left out a reference to Article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and overall seems to move away from it.

Looking Forward

We have a declaredly pro-life president elect who says he will defund the abortion business, and and a declaredly pro-life USUN ambassador nominee with a pro-life record as a governor. Lets hope a Trump and Haley understands that UN programming on sexual and reproductive health has nothing to do with health and everything to do with funding for planned parenthood and its affiliates, in order to transform social norms about sex around the world.

And lets hope they understand that promoting LGBT rights will only hurt U.S. interests. In the short term, because of other real priorities that have to sacrificed to make insignificant gains on LGBT. In the long term, it will make us the laughing stock of the world because this agenda may gain traction in UN agencies, but will never be accepted domestically in most countries in the world.

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