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UNICEF's latest ploy

by Kathleen Toth

(Re-printed with the permission of Catholic Insight - Nov. 1999)

"Canada's first National Election for the Rights of Youth will take place on November 19, 1999. Marking the 10th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, this election will give a tremendous boost to public awareness of children's rights and of Canada's democratic process." So begins the joint news release by UNICEF Canada and Elections Canada which was sent to all Canadian schools on August 20, 1999.

The news release is alarming. Why? Without so much as a 'by your leave,' UNICEF announced that it will invade every Canadian school having an Internet connection to conduct a vote among students aged 6 to 17 years. The students will vote "for the right they feel is most important to them" (taken from National Election for the Rights of Youth web page). The implication is that the United Nations has conferred special rights on all children. UNICEF is determined to drive a wedge between Canadian children and their parents by conducting this charade with the assistance of Elections Canada. Canadian children's rights do not originate with the United Nations' Treaty, but children who participate will believe that they have been given a new set of rights by the United Nations. They will believe that Article 14 of the UN Treaty gives them "freedom of thought, conscience, and religion"; they will believe they now have the right to associate with anyone they choose (Article 15); they will believe the Treaty gives them the right to receive information of all kinds through media of their own choice (Article 17); the "right to rest and leisure" (Article 31) would suggest chores and homework are longer required.

Elections Canada

The involvement of Elections Canada with UNICEF is very peculiar. The message of Chief Electoral Officer of Canada, Jean-Pierre Kingsley, on the web page says: "The event will also give them a chance to learn about elections, which form the basis of the democratic process…" and yet an embargo on the questions prevents parents, teachers, and students from discussing the implications beforehand. If voting choices are confidential until just before the vote, and if whole groups can opt out, how does this teach children about their civic obligation and the democratic process? How private and confidential will the process be if teachers are conducting the vote?

UNICEF was set up in 1947 to provide emergency relief for children in the wake of World War II. Canadians supported UNICEF just as they supported the Easter Seals campaigns or Operation Eyesight. Until recently, many Canadian children collected money for UNICEF as they went 'trick or treating' on Hallowe'en. But gradually over the years, population control replaced food, clean water, and shelter as concerns, and UNICEF became a provider of 'family planning services'. Money collected for the relief of hunger and disease provided abortifacient contraceptives to women in the Third World countries. From 1987 onwards, UNICEF endorsed abortion and worked closely with other UN agencies which provided sterilizations, contraceptives, and abortions. In 1990 during a meeting of UNICEF's Executive Board in New York, some European countries proposed that UNICEF should "become an advocate for abortion in countries where sovereign legislation does not allow it."

The Holy See responded by saying that it viewed "…with great alarm some repeated proposals that this United Nations agency, established for the well-being of children, to become involved in the destruction of existing human life, even to the point that UNICEF become an advocate for abortion in countries whose sovereign legislation does not allow it. The Holy See firmly opposes such proposals not only on moral grounds, but also because they would bring a totally unacceptable deviation from the stated purpose of UNICEF in favour of children."

The Vatican called the new attitude a "dangerous form of neocolonialism" but its protest were disregarded.

That was back in 1990. Since that time the Vatican has cut even its minuscule but powerfully symbolic grants to UNICEF Catholics and Canadians should follow suit and actively object to collections for UNICEF, especially in Catholic schools. Again, so-called earmarking of your money for particular projects is not effective. Once the allocated budget is achieved, money is diverted to other projects at will.


Now that UNICEF has been unmasked and its intentions are known, parents must try to insulate their families from this invasion of privacy. No precedent allows a quasi-World-Government agency to override our national sovereignty. The exercise is a smokescreen to enable UNICEF to invade the very interface between children and their parents. Since federal and provincial governments seem oblivious to this deception, it will be up to parents, teachers, and school trustees to block this first of, no doubt, many intrusions. UNICEF and Elections Canada have no right to conduct this "Election for the Rights of Youth" and should be prevented from doing so.

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