Co-authored with Lauren Funk
NEW YORK, February 24 (C-FAM) – The Holy See delegation to the United Nations this week condemned the “attempt at wholesale social engineering” imposed on Africa by UN population control policies. In a series of powerful statements the Vatican delegation also called for the defense and safeguarding of the family.
The UN Commission on Social Development (CSD) does not normally attract much attention as the more controversial topics are covered by other commissions. However, in light of the upcoming UN Conference on Youth, observers paid closer attention to this year’s commission and its resolutions on youth, the family, and development.
The Holy See first expressed its strong reservations on references to the World Program of Action on Youth (WPAY) in the resolution on youth programs, and spoke out against the “attempted imposition of agendas” during the resolution’s negotiations. When the UN General Assembly first passed WPAY in 1995, a number of delegations including Malta, Argentina, and Lebanon took exception to the language on youth “reproductive health services” and the document’s disregard for parental primacy in educating children. However, during last week’s negotiations on the youth resolution, the Holy See’s attempts to have those previous reservations reflected within the text failed.
It its statement to the General Assembly, the Holy See chastised the attempted imposition of “agendas” that “[do] not advance the well being of peoples.” The Holy See called for an “approach which respects the timeless values rooted in human nature, values which are essential for authentic social development.”
The Holy See strongly objected to the inclusion of an African document called the Maputo Protocol that calls for a right to abortion. The Holy See delegate challenged the “false assumption that African countries are overpopulated, and that wealthy nations must work to reduce their numbers” as an “attempt at wholesale social engineering imposed on Africa” in violation of their human rights, most especially their right to life.
The Holy See also said “the traditional culture of respecting life which is characteristic of the region of Africa is something from which all countries can learn. The more we affirm respect for the right to life—throughout the life cycle—the more we will truly advance social development around the world.”
The Holy See spoke again on a commission resolution on the family, which did not mention mothers or fathers. The Holy See delegate said, “the institution of the family, which is a sine qua non for preparing the future generation, is being challenged by many factors in the modern world and the family needs to be defended and safeguarded.”
Many delegations have commented on what they see as a new tenor and tone of the Holy See delegation. Delegations are also talking about how much more active the Holy See delegates have been in actual negotiations. Some delegations have greeted this outspokenness with chagrin and even hostility.