Guatemala to UN: Stop pushing abortion agenda in documents…
(CUSA) – As usual, bigger countries pushing around the weak for their agenda of death. It is the New Colonialization. —Ed.
(C-Fam) – Guatemala threatened to upend an agreement on new UN development goals last week because other countries insist on including rights to abortion and homosexuality.
A Guatemalan delegate asked European and North American countries to reconsider their intransigence during negotiations for a new UN development scheme last week.
“Do we really want to open that can of worms?” asked Jimena Leiva-Roesch, referring to “sexual and reproductive health” and “reproductive rights”—euphemisms for abortion and sexual license.
“Consider the implications!” the Guatemalan urged energetically.
The controversial terms are included among the 17 goals and 169 targets that will determine the priorities – and direct billions of dollars – of the UN development agenda. Several countries qualified the terms last July with reservations, as well as references to previous UN agreements, to preclude any understanding that abortion is a right.
Now European and Nordic countries are adamantly opposing any reservations that do not recognize abortion and homosexuality as human rights.
“Do you expect me to ask my prime minster to adopt the reservations of another country?” a Nordic delegate asked, even though that is what they did with other UN agreements in the 1990’s.
“Reservations are part of the package,” Leiva-Roesch warned, adding that this uncompromising position “threatens to block everything.”
Egypt agreed and went further, lamenting attempts to “change political consensus” through proposals from the UN bureaucracy. The proposals would gauge access to abortion for adolescents and social acceptance of homosexuality to measure progress on the new development scheme.
Their pleas were high notes in a chorus of protestations against “re-opening” negotiations on the 17 goals and 169 targets.
Early in the week ambassadors from Kenya and Ireland who are leading the negotiations proposed 19 changes to the goals and targets. The amendments prepared by UN officials and with the backing of rich donor countries were presented as merely a “technical proofing” in order to avoid accusations of UN officials meddling in political negotiations between states. The distinction between what is technical and political has proved to be not so clear-cut.
India’s delegate objected to any changes.
“The more we hear the more we disagree,” he said. “The risks of opening the package far outweigh the benefits.”
European and North American countries suggested that those opposed to amendments were “allergic” to negotiations.
“I have no allergies,” a delegate from Brazil retorted to laughter from the negotiating room.
He chided delegations that imply opposing views are not based on science or evidence. “Going forward we will need to rely more than ever on one particular branch of science: political science,” he said, as the chamber erupted into laughter.
Leiva-Roesch also joked, “When we agreed to the goals in July the smell in the room was political, it was not technical,” alluding to the air in the room after nearly 48 uninterrupted hours of negotiations.
The amendments will have to wait until May for a final verdict. The ambassadors of Kenya and Ireland conceded at the end of the week that the 19 amendments would be the only ones open to consideration, and that any changes will likely require unanimity.
Reservations, if included, would be part of the documentation to be adopted by the General Assembly in September, when the new agenda will be launched.