John-Henry Westen

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United Nations Human Rights Committee Pushes Kenya to Legalize Abortion and Homosexuality

John-Henry Westen

NEW YORK, March 18, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The United Nations Human Rights Committee wrapped up consideration of Kenya’s second periodic report on compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights Tuesday, pushing Kenya to legalize abortion and homosexuality. The 18-member, Geneva-based Committee meeting in New York through April 1, monitors worldwide implementation of the Covenant and its two Optional Protocols.

With regard to homosexuality, Roman Wieruszewski, the UN ‘expert’  from Poland, expressed concern that the country considered homosexuality an unnatural act and had enacted laws to that effect. 

He asked, “Does the country consider this to be inconsistent with the Covenant’s non-discrimination clauses?”

Wieruszewski was supported in his charge by Michael O’Flaherty the UN ‘expert’ from Ireland who, according to a UN press release, “was also concerned with the issue of prejudice regarding homosexuality and asked what was being done to address them.”

Prafullachandra Natwarlal Bhagwati expert from India, began the abortion-related inquisition telling the Kenyan governmental representatives that he was concerned about lack of access to contraceptives, and, since he believed that abortion was illegal, he asked the Kenyan delegation what steps were being taken to curb the rather large number of “back alley” abortions performed by “quacks”. 

Asking leadingly, “Has there been any thought to legalizing abortions in some cases?”

Amos Wako, Attorney-General and Head of Kenya’s delegation,  explained to the committee that abortion is prohibited in Kenya except where the life of the mother was at stake. He said that he was aware that there were activists campaigning to make abortion legal. But he added that there was also a very strong lobby led by the country’s Catholic and Muslim communities to have abortion ruled out altogether. “How this debate will end, is anyone’s guess”, he said.

Christine Chanet, the UN ‘expert’ from France and Committee Chairperson, concluded the meeting saying that among the committee’s greatest concerns was the anti-abortion law. Chanet cited a list of concerns about violence against women, and included the country’s pro-life law as an example. 

The point that caused the greatest concern among her colleagues had to do with the status of women and violence against them . . . She cited as examples physical violence, family violence, genital mutilation, and abortion-related deaths - an extremely high number of women died because of the severity of the anti-abortion law, and they were often Kenya’s poorest women.”

Chanet contended that the pro-life law violated the convention and called on the government to ‘combat’ the religious groups - according to the Kenyan representative Catholics and Muslims - which supported it. “That was a very considerable problem, which runs counter to the State’s obligation.  Indeed, it was incumbent upon States to combat those cultural and religious beliefs that perpetuated such problems,” she said

See the UN release

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