Tag Archives: European Union

UN Human Rights Council Affirms Traditional Values

By Stefano Gennarini, J.D.

(GENEVA – C-FAM) Delegations from European Countries and the United States suffered a setback last week when the Human Rights Council adopted a resolution affirming a positive link between traditional values and human rights. The European and U.S. delegations view traditional values as threats to women, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual persons.

This is the third resolution on traditional values to pass since 2009. Russia successfully pressed the resolution forward despite attempts by other UN member states to stifle their initiative.

The current resolution, tabled by Russia and co-authored by more than 60 states (not all members of the Council), affirms that traditional values common to all humanity have a positive role in the promotion and protection of human rights. It states that “a better understanding and appreciation of traditional values shared by all humanity and embodied in universal human rights instruments contribute to promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms worldwide.”

Echoing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it stresses “that human rights derive from the dignity and worth inherent in the human person” and recognizes the positive role of the family, community and educational institutions in promoting human rights, calling on states to “strengthen this role through appropriate positive measures.”

European countries and the United States voiced opposition to the concept of traditional values when a resolution under that title was first proposed by Russia in 2009. They also voted against a resolution requesting a report on the interconnectedness of traditional values and human rights from the Advisory Committee of the Council in March last year. When that measure passed, they took control of the Advisory Committee’s efforts to produce a report that was contrary to the intention of the resolution.

The European and U.S. delegations repeatedly complained that “traditional values” is a vague concept used to justify violence and discrimination against women and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) persons. But having failed to sway enough countries with that argument, they sought to halt the resolution by asking the Council to wait for the report from the Advisory Committee, the same one they originally opposed.

Russia tabled the resolution anyway, confident that it would have the necessary votes. The resolution was adopted with 25 in favor, 15 against, and 7 abstentions.

Upon its adoption, the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement declaring “The Russian Federation, together with the opinion allies, will continue promoting the idea of [the] inseparable connection of human rights and traditional moral values in the Human Rights Council.”

Noting that “there were states that voted against the draft (in particular, the USA and European Union)” Russia lamented that “(the) negative position of these countries, their unwillingness to work at the text and fanciful arguments against the resolution draft cause regret.”

Last year President Obama ordered all federal agencies dealing with U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance to promote LGBT rights. Support for traditional values is deeply troublesome to LGBT groups, as the Gay Star News reports. They are worried it will be used to defend the natural family, and fear they will be unable to de-criminalize homosexuality worldwide.

Stefano Gennarini is Director of the Center for Legal Studies at the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-FAM) located in both New York City and Washington, D.C. Gennarini’s article first appeared in the Friday Fax, an internet report published weekly by C-FAM.

European Development Aid and Funding Abortions

By Stefano Gennarini, J.D.

(New York C-FAM) The European Commission is using development funds to pay for abortions in countries that restrict the procedure and funding the two largest abortion providers in the world, International Planned Parenthood Federation and Marie Stopes International, according to a new report by European Dignity Watch.

The report The Funding of Abortion through EU Development Aid reveals Marie Stopes International received over $30 million from the European Union. The Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition, a high level global partnership that includes the UNFPA and provides abortion kits to developing countries, was given close to $32 million over a 30-month period ending in June 2011.

The report discloses that EU money was spent to fund abortions in developing countries with strict abortion laws through the EU’s Development Aid and Public Health budgets for projects related to “sexual and reproductive health.” But European Dignity Watch (EDW) says the “term ‘sexual and reproductive health’ as defined by the EU excludes abortion explicitly”.

International Planned Parenthood Federation and Marie Stopes International asked and received funding projects that included “safe abortion,” “emergency contraception,” “training in manual vacuum aspiration,” and “menstrual regulation” to admittedly bypass legal restrictions on abortions in countries like Bangladesh, Bolivia, Guatemala, and Peru.

The term “menstrual regulation,” the report explains, is a less explicit term for surgical abortions. It is described by Planned Parenthood as the process of emptying the uterus through the high-powered suction created by a manual vacuum aspirator. The device is inserted in the dilated cervix of a woman who “suspects” being pregnant rather than one who “knows” she is pregnant. After the procedure, it is impossible to tell whether a woman was pregnant unless the extracted tissue, which may include an implanted embryo, is examined microscopically.

The report denounces the European Commission, which manages the budget of the European Union, for acting illegally. The report asserts that the Commission does not have the authority to fund abortions because of the limited authority of the Commission, the Commission’s own statements, and the need for consensus to act on foreign policy. Each EU member state has a seat on the Commission, and several EU countries have strict abortion laws.

European Dignity Watch based the report on disclosures from a document request for all papers and correspondence between the EU Commission, the two abortion giants, and the Center for Reproductive Rights for the period running from 2005 to 2010. Not all the information requested from the EU Commission was handed over. The report calls the findings so far “cursory” and asks EU Parliamentarians to investigate further and take action.

The report was presented at the European Parliament in Brussels during an event that was part of the “Week for Life” initiative organized by EU Parliamentarians held in March.

For decades, public funding of abortion in Europe would not have been considered controversial. European Dignity Watch, which was formed in 2010, is just one of many recently formed politically active pro-life organizations in Europe. This development shows how the pro-life movement is gaining momentum in Europe.

Stefano Gennarini writes for C-FAM. This article first appeared in the Friday Fax, an internet report published weekly by C-FAM (Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute), a New York and Washington DC-based research institute (http://www.c-fam.org/). This article appears with permission.