By Wendy Wright
(NEW YORK – C-FAM) Youth attending a UN conference on women’s issues this week say UN security officers confiscated their backpacks after discovering pro-life literature.
The confiscated materials were petitions to “Stop Sexualizing Children,” and were connected to a UN approved workshop led this week by Dr. Miriam Grossman, a child psychiatrist and author of “You’re Teaching My Child What? A Physician Exposes the Lies of Sex Education and How They Harm Your Child.”
The offending flyer announced a project called the “Girls Coalition to Protect the Health and Innocence of Children,” which is an ad hoc group that sponsored the Grossman event. At the panel, girls from China, Spain and Mexico launched a petition calling on UN agencies to “Stop Sexualizing Children.” They charge the UN’s promotion of “comprehensive sexuality education” is harmful to children.
The young people insist they were not leafleting, which is forbidden on UN property, though it is routinely ignored. The young students left UN grounds to make more copies. Upon their return they were stopped by UN security.
One of the students, Kalli Lawrence, said that the guards noticed the group’s distinctive green backpacks and then ordered the students to hand them over. “The guards had this confused, angry look on their faces,” she reported, “and they started telling all the security guards, ‘don’t let any of these yellow papers go through, just take them all and keep them.’”
The green backpacks and literature were stored in lockers at a security checkpoint. Students and their teachers were allowed to retrieve some of the backpacks as they left UN property. According to teacher Jody Dunn, some of the backpacks were not returned, those that contained a pro-life documentary called “180”. Dunn then insisted and those backpacks were returned also.
Pro-lifers have long felt the sting of selective enforcement of UN rules. Kali Lawrence said, “They didn’t stop anyone else that we could see passing out flyers.”
Upon questioning by the Friday Fax, the security officer in charge at the time said guards don’t “target” items. He went on to say they were not allowed to discuss policies or procedures.
Observers speculate that someone connected to Commission organizers complained to UN security. At the Cairo conference on Population and Development in 1994, without any evidence, former US Senator Timothy Wirth told UN security that a certain pro-lifer was a violent threat. The person was detained and deported.
Alliance Defense Fund attorney Piero Tozzi told the Friday Fax, “The UN cannot censor speech it does not agree with. Both the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression and the Human Rights Committee have recently emphasized the need to protect this fundamental freedom. Why then is speech by respectful, clean cut kids on a topic vital to keeping young people healthy being censored at the UN?”
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom . . . to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
Wendy Wright is Interim Executive Director at the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute, a New York and Washington DC-based research institute. Her article first appeared in the Friday Fax, an internet report published weekly by C-FAM and is republished here with permission.