NEW YORK, July 23 (LifeSiteNews.com) The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) wrapped up their three-week-long 1998 meeting on July 10 during which time they critiqued the record of eight nations on “women’s rights.” More importantly, however, they used the opportunity to reaffirm a radical agenda which includes further demands on nations to surrender their sovereignty, the condemnation of motherhood and a reiteration of the need to replace cultural and religious traditions with their radical notion of “human rights.”

These regular meetings are authorized by the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, which has been signed by 161 countries including, of course, Canada. The Convention was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1979 and came into force in 1981. The UN considers it legally binding despite the fact that 54 signatory nations have issued reservations with the document. Countries are also required to provide periodic reports updating their progress at implementing the Convention.

Supremacy over religion and culture

At the recent meeting, the Committee reiterated its opposition to the use of cultural and religious distinctives as reasons to resist implementing CEDAW resolutions: “Traditional, religious and cultural practices, or incompatible domestic laws and polices, did not justify violations of the Convention.”  The Committee advocated direct state interference in family life by specifically targeting for criticism reservations made to article 16 of the Convention on “eliminating discrimination in marriage and the family.”

Threatening the traditional family

In recent correspondence to concerned Americans, Republican Senator Ashcroft noted that CEDAW’s belief that all education in the US should conform to the Convention’s view of women’s rights would in effect require the government to impose curriculum on all parents including those who teach their children at home. He also condemned CEDAW’s radical centralist agenda, arguing that most of the issues “covered by the Convention should be determined by states, local communities and private citizens.”

CEDAW’s anti-family mentality recurred repeatedly. The Committee “expressed concern about [Slovakia’s]  legislative and cultural overemphasis on motherhood and family roles for women. The stereotyped view of women as mothers reflected misunderstanding of concepts such as gender roles, indirect discrimination and de facto inequality,” they claimed. The Committee also questioned why Slovakian women should have to choose between work and raising a family. To alleviate this apparent problem, it recommended state-funded day-care. In several places the Committee also condemned what it termed “patriarchal values.”

CEDAW’s anti-life sentiment

The Committee also demonstrated an anti-life attitude. It argued that the solution to high abortion rates is “an increase in family planning education and expanded access to inexpensive contraception.” The Committee went so far as to lie in response to Peru’s report when it “stressed that criminalizing abortion had the effect of making the procedure unsafe and dangerous without stopping abortions.” Research well over 10 years old indicates that, at least in America, 70% of women who have had abortions said they would not have pursued them if abortion was illegal. 

Also, in what appears to be thinly veiled advocacy for a coercive population control scheme, the Committee recommended that South Africa implement “specific measures ... to overcome high fertility rates.” The recommendation was made to deal with “vulnerable groups of women, especially rural women.”

National sovereignty opposed

The Committee continued to communicate CEDAW’s disdain for national sovereignty. As noted above, they do not believe that domestic traditions are legitimate reasons to refrain from implementing certain CEDAW resolutions. The Committee specifically criticized South Africa because its “Constitution accommodated religious and customary laws, which at times [perpetuated] practices that were discriminatory to women and hampered implementation of the Convention.” On the other hand, it commended Slovakia for allowing international treaties such as CEDAW to “[take] precedence over domestic legislation.” CEDAW’s view is that the reservations to implementing the Convention made by over 50 signatory nations are “impermissible.”

Further disdain for democratic ideals were evident in a number of other comments made by the CEDAW Committee. It suggested that centrally-controlled (e.g. communist-style) regimes are better for women’s rights than free market democracies. Specifically, it told Slovakia that, “since [it] was moving from a centrally controlled economy to a democracy and social market-oriented economy,” specific protections —“gender-sensitive policies”— would have to put in place to protect against the “negative impact”  such a transition could have on “women’s enjoyment of their rights.”

This must be taken seriously

To many “ordinary” individuals, CEDAW’s agenda is so extreme that it seems hardly believable. It appears to be moving in a direction antithetical to the dynamics we see in so many nations around the world which are experimenting with freedom. The UN, however, appears to be deadly serious about this agenda, and Canada, which for years has been a champion of the most radical feminist agendas at United Nations conferences, also seems committed to this course of action.

People concerned about family, faith and freedom have become increasingly concerned about the direction of the UN over the past decade, with certain groups getting involved directly with the hope that they can reign in the international body. Such activity has not been without success, but the battle is far from over judging by the fervency of the anti-family, anti-life forces entrenched in the leadership of the United Nations.