By CLC UN Representative

  TORONTO, Canada, March 26, 2008 (


  On March 17th, the website published an exposé on the UN World Youth Report 2007 titled Young People’s Transition to Adulthood: Progress and Challenges. Issued by the department of Economic and Social Affairs, the 306 pages long document outlines the challenges of young people around the world. It presents a regional analysis of education, health, employment opportunities and other elements affecting the lives and realities of young people today.

  According to, the situation of young people in the Caribbean is far from ideal. Amongst the many problems, the U.N. report notes that “teenage pregnancies not only poses health risks, but given the limited support for childcare, also reduce young women’s life opportunities.” It is important to emphasize the need to support young mothers through social programs and infrastructure. However, the undertone of the report constructs pregnancy as a problem calling for an abortion first agenda.

  The report states the following about the situation in Asia:  “The challenges posed by unhealthy behavior are compounded by difficulties in accessing health care. There is limited access to sexual education and inadequate access to youth-friendly health services. Family planning programmes, messages and information, for example, are often targeted at married people. Unmarried young people thus often have limited knowledge of contraception.” Later on, the report also mentions that “The size of the youth population in Asia gives the region a major advantage in terms of development potential.” However, it fails to mention the devastating effects of social policies such as “the one-child policy” and “sex-selective abortions” on the region.


  An article by Fred Lucas found on the website is highly critical of the U.N.‘s recent relationship with some members of the press. The article mentions the case of Matthew Russell Lee, a reporter from Inner City Press, who had his credentials pulled after having been critical of the U.N. Development Program (UNDP).

  It appears some members of the press core, much like pro-life lobbyists, are having trouble getting access to the people and information they need to carry out their duties.

  William Davis, director of the U.N. Information Center quoted article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which calls on countries to promote freedom of the press. He mentioned daily news briefings and the UN website as good sources of information for reporters. 

  However, Beatrice Edwards, international program director for the Government accountability Project, noted in Mr. Lucas’ article that the U.N. and other international organizations “have diplomatic immunity and are not subject to freedom of information laws.” This gives such organizations the power to avoid being truly transparent and makes it all the more important for reporters and non-governmental organizations to act as watchdogs.


  On March 17th, the delegation of the Holy See addressed the Human Rights Council in Geneva. The website, published the entire address. The Holy See has long been one of the rare voices defending life and the family at the U.N.

  Reinforcing the importance of life as the first human right, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, permanent observer of the Holy See to the Office of the United Nations and Specialized Institution, stated that “respect of the human person form conception to natural death is the only measure to judge any policy be it the fight against terrorism or the fight against hunger and underdevelopment.”

  Calling for the U.N. to fulfill its intended purpose, Archbishop Tomasi concluded his address by reiterating words of Pope John XXIII: “May the day be not long delayed when every human being can find in this organization an effective safeguard of his personal rights; those rights, that is, which derive directly from his dignity as a human person.” This timely declaration is refreshing in the light of abuses of Human Rights courts around the globe while true universal rights, such as the right to life, are still under siege at the U.N.


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