26 settembre 2008

Resolution Condemning UN Committees Introduced in US House of Representatives

By Austin Ruse

(WASHINGTON, DC – C-FAM) A resolution was introduced in the United States House of Representatives this week condemning two United Nations committees. The non-binding resolution was introduced by Republican Thad McCotter (R-MI) and specifically condemns actions taken by the Human Rights Committee (HRC) and the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

The resolution singles out these two committees for reinterpreting hard-law treaties to include a right to abortion and trying to force sovereign states who have ratified the treaties into accepting these new interpretations.

The resolution charges that the committees’ "unelected members...operate without any formal oversight and entirely unaccountable to the United Nations system and Member States." The resolution further charges that these "unelected members…change the meaning" of the documents they are charged with monitoring "from the original text negotiated by sovereign states."

Though neither the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights nor the CEDAW treaty mention abortion and, as stated in the Resolution, "establishes or implies a right to abortion," the Committees routinely tell governments they must change their laws protecting the unborn.

The resolution cites five examples where the Committees criticized Ireland on abortion. In August 1999, the CEDAW Committee told Ireland "the Committee is concerned that, with very limited exceptions, abortion remains illegal in Ireland" and told the government to "facilitate a national dialogue on women's reproductive rights, including on the restrictive abortion laws." Six years later the Committee admitted that a national dialogue had taken place "with five separate referendums held on three separate occasions." Even so, the Committee again told Ireland again to facilitate a national dialogue on abortion.

In July 2000 the Human Rights Committee told Ireland that "the State should ensure that women are not compelled to continue with pregnancies where that is incompatible with (committee directives and decisions)."

UN Committees that oversee the implementation of UN treaties are made up of "experts" in each area and are generally drawn from academia, advocacy groups and non-governmental organizations. These Committees take it upon themselves to reinterpret the treaties and then ask governments to act on these changes. These statements by these committees are then used by radical lawyers on the ground to initiate law suits.

The Congressional Resolution "strongly rebukes the efforts" of the two committees, "calls into question the merit of using United States taxpayer-generated revenues to support them," and "urges countries with restrictions on the practice of abortion to remain steadfast in the time-honored traditions and verities of their cultures…"

David Quinn, president of the Dublin-based Iona Institute told the Friday Fax, "Congressman McCotter deserves congratulations for bringing this to public attention. The bullying behavior of the UN towards countries which have pro-life laws, such as Ireland, is deplorable, unconscionable and needs to be brought to an end."

Given the political make-up of the US House of Representatives, it is unlikely that the resolution will pass. However, McCotter's staff told the Friday Fax they expect to continue with such efforts in the future.

Ireland is set to appear before the CEDAW committee in January.

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