.- Representatives of several countries and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) met at the United Nations this week for the annual Commission on the Status of Women. Purportedly intended to discuss relations between men and women and care for HIV/AIDS victims, the event was instead used to criticize the Catholic Church and to promote radical ideas on abortion, homosexual rights and sex education.
According to the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM), radical feminist NGOs criticized the Catholic Churchâs strong pro-life stance at several events.
At the Center for Reproductive Rights event on HIV positive women, a Chilean panelist reportedly denigrated the Catholic Church for using its âpower and influenceâ to discourage the Chilean government from supporting condom distribution.
The panelist shouted down one young pro-life advocate who spoke on the effectiveness of abstinence in HIV prevention, C-FAM reports in its March 5 Friday Fax.
At a meeting of the European Womenâs Lobby on religions and sexual and reproductive rights, organizers called on the EU to defend abortion ârightsâ against an âalliance [that] is currently being formed between the Holy See, Islamist fundamentalist regimes and Christian right-wing governments â including the former Bush administration â who work together in order to influence U.N. texts on womenâs rights.â
Norway and Sweden partnered with the International Planned Parenthood Federation to host a panel titled âPromoting Sexual and Reproductive Empowerment.â Both Norway and Sweden advocated prioritizing âsexual and reproductive rights,â C-FAM says.
Norwegian State Secretary Hakon Gulbrandsen declared âsexual rightsâ to be a âcornerstone to gender equalityâ and argued that âsafe abortionâ is âa crucial component of sexual and reproductive rights.â
He criticized those who âclaim to be pro-life and yet wish to abolish abortion,â arguing that abortion is sometimes âthe only solution to premature, unwanted pregnancies.â
Advocating homosexual rights, he also urged participants to ârespect the diversity of gender identities.â
At an event sponsored by Human Rights Watch, organizers strategized on how to build on the non-binding EU-led âsexual orientationâ statement introduced in the General Assembly last fall.
The statement called on member states to include âsexual orientationâ and âgender identityâ as protected categories like race, religion or sex.
âHuman Rights Watch confirmed criticsâ fears that homosexual rights NGOs would push for the non-binding statement to appear in a more permanent form, like a General Assembly resolution to be voted upon in âthree years or lessâ,â C-FAM reported.
Organizers at a youth caucus meeting refused to incorporate pro-abstinence suggestions from a group of more than 20 pro-life youths.
âI donât know which youth they represent, but they donât speak for me or any of my friends that are here,â one pro-life youth told C-FAMâs Friday Fax.
The Commission on the Status of Women meeting is to conclude on March 13.