After being denied accreditation in the early 1990s, Human Life International, the world’s largest international pro-life and pro-family non-profit organization, was officially granted Special Consultative Status by the United Nations on Friday.
The UN denied HLI’s first application two decades ago without giving a concrete reason. In November 2011, HLI once again began the process. Because of the accreditation, HLI can now attend UN meetings and submit written and oral statements to UN general assemblies. These statements will become part of the official documentation of the UN.
The organization’s president, Father Shenan J. Boquet, said in a press release that gaining UN accreditation was an important part of HLI’s worldwide mission to defend the right to life from conception to natural death.
“Human Life International’s pro-life missionaries spend a great amount of time and resources fighting back against the threats to life and family, which are often debated at the United Nations,” Father Boquet said. “Being in the room where the decisions are made, we have the opportunity to change the narrative on what it means to protect authentic human rights from conception until natural death, and end the crime of abortion around the world.”
“It wasn’t easy. There were people that didn’t want to see HLI succeed, and we had to try three times to get in,” said Mary Langlois, HLI’s representative to the UN. “When the chairperson of the accreditation committee pronounced the words, ‘It is so decided,’ we were very happy, and our anti-life opponents were not.”
Jim Hughes, president of Canada’s Campaign Life Coalition, which first gained status at the UN before the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, said HLI will be another important ally in the pro-life and pro-family coalition.
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Hughes said one key advantage of having pro-life groups at the UN is to inform pro-life advocates of the developments there, and in particular about the activities of pro-abortion NGOs. “A particular country might have policies that are opposed to abortion, etc., but they’re supportive of various NGOs whose own positions are contrary to their own countries,” he said.
“It’s wonderful that HLI has been accredited,” he added. “Certainly the coalition that was established twenty years ago now has been extremely helpful because we were able to share information with other organizations.”
Father Boquet also noted the importance of monitoring pro-abortion NGOs.
“So often at the NGO sessions around the world in which HLI has taken part, these organizations that claim to work for human rights and ‘tolerance’ want to silence the voices of those who believe those rights extend to the preborn child,” he said. “We thank God for granting us this new opportunity to work for the defense of life, and ask for the intercession of our Blessed Mother to end the greatest human rights abuse on the planet: the abortion of innocents in the womb.”