Raimundo Rojas of National Right to Life in the United States reports on the recently completed Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).
The two-week long exercise in futility known as the United Nations’ 57th annual meeting of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is over. The harangues, the excesses, and the disconnect between the needs of the third world versus the wants of the first world are now a not-too-distant memory. However, the document produced by the commission is still with us and those who promote and profit from abortion are spinning it is a “tremendous victory.” And it really is just spin – the reality is that pro-abortion extremists did not succeed in advancing their agenda or their goal of establishing abortion as a fundamental human right worldwide.The outcome agreement that they are vacuously lauding was written within the context of this year’s all-important CSW theme: The Elimination and Prevention of all Forms of Violence Against Women and Girls. An important topic that needed serious contemplation, discussion, debate and outcomes – but instead of focusing exclusively on the real issues that confront women around the world, we listened to delegates discuss why six and eight year old girls should be able to “fully reach and explore their sexual and reproductive rights.”Shannon Kowalski, director of advocacy and policy at the International Women’s Health Coalition, was quoted in a Reuter’s news article as saying, “Governments have agreed to take concrete steps to end violence. For the first time, they agreed to make sure that women who have been raped can get critical health care services, like emergency contraception and safe abortion.”She really did say that. The fact that the intent of the Commission was to PREVENT violence against women is lost on Ms. Kowalski. Pro-life NGOs and many delegations would have welcomed language ensuring women receive the critical health care services they need after any violent trauma. But the goal of the extremists was to politicize violence against women as a way to procure more liberalized abortions laws around the world, and they failed.The CSW outcome agreement is a non-binding document; it has no legal standing anywhere. It can only be misinterpreted and then used by UN agencies and radical pro-abortion NGOs to try and browbeat countries into changing protective pro-life laws. They already have many of those documents and this one is essentially more of the same – no harm no foul. The real problem was, and is, with the process of how the United Nations’ and their commissions are now doing business.For decades the custom was that a bureau comprised of commission members and UN agency employees would research and draft a document focusing on that year’s commission theme. That document, called the “Agreed Conclusions” would then be released to the entire Commission and be debated and negotiated beginning on the opening day of the Commission Meeting. More often than not, when language in the document was contentious and an impasse was reached, that language would ultimately be deleted or supplanted with previously agreed conclusions and the commission would move on to the next paragraph.In the last few years however, and in this commission meeting in particular, the negotiating process has been subverted. During the course of the debate at this year’s CSW, contentious paragraphs were glossed over and set aside. But as the clock ticked, time ran out and in the 11th hour, when no consensus on the unsettled language could be reached, the Chair of the committee offered the “Chair’s Text” (with little contribution from member states) and declared it the outcome documentAny of the 49 countries on the Commission could have vehemently objected to the language and the end result would have been no document – as was the case in 2012. This year however, there was extra pressure placed on member nations by UN agencies, powerful pro-abortion NGOs and their cohorts at the New York Times to reach “consensus” and release a working document. Several countries offered reservations to the language, but in the end, they all agreed to it.
Raimundo Rojas is the director of Hispanic outreach for the National Right to Life Committee. He is a former president of Florida Right to Life and has presented the pro-life message to millions in Spanish-language media outlets. He represents NRLC at the United Nations as an NGO. Rojas was born in Santiago de las Vegas, Havana, Cuba and he and his family escaped to the United States in 1968.