By Campaign Life Coalition U.N. Representative

  April 7, 2008  ( – Issues this week:

  * U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Persons with Disabilities
  * Opening of the Commission on Population and Development
  * Children and HIV/AIDS

  U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Persons with Disabilities

  Last Thursday, Ecuador ratified the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Persons with Disabilities. The Convention needed to be ratified by 20 countries before entering into effect. As of May 3rd, the document will be legally binding for countries that have ratified it. This Convention is the latest of eight core human rights instruments used by the U.N. It is also the first treaty pertaining to human rights to be negotiated in the new millennium. An additional 106 countries are signatories of the document, demonstrating their intent to ratify it in the future.

  The United States has announced that it will not be ratifying the convention, stating that it may interfere with its domestic laws. The Associated Press reported that American officials are taking a stand for national sovereignty and believe it is “important for countries to strengthen their national legislation, rather than to sign new international conventions.”

  Article 10 of the convention is centered on the right to life. It says: “States Parties reaffirm that every human being has the inherent right to life and shall take all necessary measures to ensure its effective enjoyment by persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others.” There is an intricate link between abortion, euthanasia and assisted suicide and the rights of disabled individuals.

  Reaffirming the right to life of people with disabilities is important in terms of combating euthanasia and assisted suicide. It reminds the international community of the need to respect human dignity.

  Opening of the Commission on Population and Development

  The 41st annual Commission on Population and Development is opening today at the U.N. headquarters in New York City. This year, the four day event will focus on “Population distribution, urbanization, internal migration and development”.

  Pro-abortion advocates are using this opportunity to push their platform. Both the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and Population Action International (PAI) have issued statements endorsing this year’s theme and linking it to anti-family, anti-life measures. Both organizations have consultative status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

  The statements are being circulated in accordance with guidelines established by the ECOSOC. The IPPF states that “Urban growth, with associated poverty and unmet sexual and reproductive health needs, calls for an innovation in service delivery if we are to provide accessible services for all who desire them.”

  Abortion cannot solve the problem of poverty. Rather, skills training and support networks are needed to help individuals in urban centers get out of poverty. The IPPF also makes a point of noting that “urban growth is predominantly fuelled by natural population increase rather than migration.” The IPPF is constructing child bearing as a problem.

  The PAI, an American organization which promotes the same type of policies as the IPPF, mention in its statement that “it is therefore critical to ensure access to quality sexual and reproductive health care including family planning for all urban women and men, to help women meet their desire to space out and limit pregnancies, and to slow down the growth to manageable levels.” Pro-abortion advocates often legitimize their call for abortion-on-demand by claiming there is a lack of space in cities and that resources are scarce.

  Children and HIV/AIDS

  On March 3, the WHO, UNICEF and UNAIDS published a report which stated that more then 2 million children live with HIV/AIDS worldwide. Four important aspects of the problem were highlighted in the report: preventing mother to child transmission, providing pediatric treatment, preventing infection amongst adolescents and young adults and providing support to children infected with HIV/AIDS.

  HIV/AIDS is a serious disease which affects innocent children. Mobilizing funding for treatment is one thing. Using the problem to promote the safe sex mentality and distribute condoms is another thing altogether.

  The opening statement of the 2007 UNAIDS epidemic update stated that “In 2007, advances in the methodology of estimations of HIV epidemics applied to an expanded range of country data have resulted in substantial changes in estimates of numbers of persons living with HIV worldwide. However the qualitative interpretation of the severity and implications of the pandemic has altered little.”

  When this report was published last November, one UNAIDS top official, Paul De Lay, director of evidence, monitoring, and policy, told the Boston Gazette “that the most significant reason for the decline in new infections in the hardest-hit areas in southern Africa appeared to be the increase of fidelity – more people were being faithful to one partner.” Yet many groups insist that abstinence only education does not help the protocol and maintain that distributing condoms is one of the most helpful ways to prevent infections amongst teenagers and young adults.

  These topics will be tackled later this year during the High Level Plenary Meeting on HIV/AIDS to be held in New York next June.